How do you make your design dreams a reality? Here’s some project management know-how to help you.
Browsing photos and ideas online can be a fun part of creating your dream room. But making your designs a reality also takes smart planning and organization. Project management is an essential part of remodeling, and there’s nothing like the feeling of implementing a plan to create something new and beautiful. These tips can help you achieve your desired results.
Become a list writer. Making lists is key when it comes to project management. It’s the only way to properly organize your thoughts and prevent any details from being forgotten.
The most important list is your scope of work, or specifications, document. This is basically a detailed list of everything to be done, from start to finish. If you’re dealing with one main builder who’s organizing all the work, then you’ll need to make sure he or she gets a copy, so the goals are clear and all the information is provided.
Also, having detailed specifications makes it easier if you want to obtain multiple quotes, and you’ll know it’s a fair comparison since all the builders will be quoting using the same criteria.
Make sure you’re all on the same page.If you’re coordinating separate subcontractors (cabinetmaker, plumber, electrician), then it would be worth indicating who’s responsible for each task. Give a complete copy of the specifications to all of them, so they’re all aware of what everyone is doing. Discuss the specifications with your subcontractors since they may be able to provide help and advice. A schedule is also useful, so you can keep track of progress and everyone knows who’s going to be on-site on which day.
With prior knowledge that a partition wall will feature some lighting, for instance, the builders will know to leave the stud frame open for the electrician to run the wires through before it’s boarded up and plastered over. Trying to feed wires through after the fact is much harder, takes longer and risks unnecessary damage.
Break into subsections.In addition to your main specifications, it’s a good idea to have sublists for each separate element of your design. For example, your main specifications may say “install 6 x recessed LED downlights in ceiling,” but your lighting specifications will detail where they are to be positioned, the type of bulb, the hardware finish and so on. The more information you provide, the more accurate your quote should be and the less likely it will be for mistakes or misunderstandings to occur. It will also minimize any unexpected costs.
This bathroom has a minimalist elegance, but it’s far from straightforward. This project would have required a builder’s spec, including layout and elevation drawings with dimensions, an electrical spec with lighting plan, a plumbing spec with layout drawing, and a decorating spec — phew!
Plan like a pro.Finalize your design before starting any work, rather than trying to do it as you go along. The process will be much more enjoyable without constant deadlines presenting themselves, and if you haven’t planned, you may find your options restricted based on work that’s already taken place.
Take a couple of weeks to put it all together, write your specifications, draw up the plans, get everything ready and make all the decisions before proceeding. This will save you time and money along the way, and significantly reduce stress levels during the project.
This clever design features well-thought-out lighting and custom cabinetry. Careful consideration would have been given to where to position the outlets, radiators, lights, switches and other details.
Never assume. You know the saying. When writing your specifications or drawing your plans, never assume that someone else will know what you want unless you explicitly state it. Include every tiny detail, no matter how picky it may seem. As well as avoiding mistakes, it also prevents any disputes over what is and isn’t included in the quote.
This bathroom just wouldn’t have looked the same if white grout had been used, for instance. You may think it would be absurd to even consider using white grout in this case, but if you haven’t asked for dark gray, you can’t expect it and you can’t assume that you will be asked what color you want. White is standard, and a tiler may use it if nothing has been specified.
Stand by for decisions.Your builder will present many questions and decisions to you along the way. Which tiles do you want on the walls? Where do you want these wall lights? What color do you want on the baseboards?
Your best bet will be to try to pre-empt as many of these decisions as possible and have the answers ready or, even better, provide the information in advance. Making these decisions under pressure can lead to impulse moves you may regret later. However, taking too long could hold up the project, costing you time, money and the patience of your builder. No one wants an unhappy builder.
Inevitably, there will be some questions you couldn’t have anticipated, but if you communicate well with your contractors, they should, where possible, give you time to make a decision without holding up the project. Don’t be afraid to ask their opinion on the best course of action, but don’t feel pressured to compromise on the design if you don’t want to.
Give yourself time to deliver.This is one of the classic pitfalls, so take note. When pulling your design ideas together and deciding which products and materials to use, make a note of the lead times. Many pieces of furniture are made to order and can have lead times of up to 12 weeks, sometimes longer. Similarly, tile and natural stone can take much longer than expected to arrive, and products from abroad can encounter holdups during transit.
This chandelier was custom-made for the project and looks fantastic. This is no last-minute, off-the-shelf, next-day-delivery job. It can be a huge shame if you’ve spent hours, days, weeks choosing the perfect product, but when you come to order it, you find that it will take too long to be delivered, perhaps time you can’t afford. Then you have to decide whether to hold up the work or pick something else based on the fact it can be delivered quickly.
Factor in a contingency.Even when you have the very best of intentions, issues that you couldn’t have predicted may arise during your project. So it’s a good idea to factor in a 10 percent contingency within your budget for these matters, especially with old buildings. Who knows what condition the walls are in behind those kitchen cabinets before you rip them out? Or what may be lurking underneath that carpet when you pull it up?
In these situations, it’s important to expect the worst and don’t let it throw you off your game. You are a project manager extraordinaire, and you’ve totally got this. Just accept that these things happen, find out what the options are and make a decision. Your contractors will be able to advise on what to do, so harness their expertise and trust them to help you find the right solution.
Call in the cavalry.If you choose to manage your project yourself, it’s certainly an enjoyable and rewarding process, but it also takes a certain type of person. You have to be organized, calm under pressure, strategic and confident — not to mention being able to afford the time to plan, coordinate and oversee the work.
If you have qualms about taking it on yourself, then consider hiring a project manager. Yes, there will be a fee, but consider that a badly managed project can cost you time and money, and you may not achieve the results you were after. A pro will take care of everything and allow you to rest easy, knowing you’re in safe hands.
Tell us:Have you managed your own renovation project? How did it go? Share your advice and experience in the Comments below.
Its time for Fourth of July celebrations- fireworks, backyard barbecue, swimming. Whatever you have planned, Maze Lumber wants you to enjoy your holiday and want to remind you all to not only have fun, but BE SAFE this Independance Day. There's nothing patriotic about suffering injuries and having to go to the emergency room when everyone else is celebrating.
Fourth of July Holiday Safety Tips
First and foremost, obey local laws. If fireworks are illegal where you live, don't use them. Even if they are legal in your area, keep fireworks out of the hands of minors. That includes unlit fireworks. Take children to public firework displays and seize the opportunity to discuss safety issues beforehand.
If you live somewhere that allows individuals to use fireworks, proceed with caution and use common sense. The National Council of Fireworks suggests the following precautions:
Follow the directions on all fireworks, and don't use them for anything other than what they're intended for.
Don't attempt to alter nor combine fireworks products.
Never use homemade fireworks.
When lighting fireworks, always have water handy. A hose is best, but a bucket will suffice.
Spectators should remain a safe distance from the fireworks being lit.
Whoever lights the fireworks must be sober, wear safety glasses, and keep clothing well away from the flame when lighting.
Only light fireworks outdoors on a smooth, flat surface, away from all flammable materials including dry leaves and paper.
Never try to relight fireworks that appear to be duds. Wait up to 20 minutes for a possible delayed ignition. Then if nothing happens, soak the firework in a bucket of water and dispose of it.
Dispose of all firework materials by first soaking them in water before putting them in the trash.
Keep sparklers away from clothing and other flammable materials.
Most animals are frightened by fireworks. Pets that feel scared may react by running away from home, defecating indoors, or otherwise destroying property. Protect your pets on the fourth of July by taking some basic precautions.
Don't take your pets to fireworks displays.
Don't leave your pets in a car by themselves.
Don't leave your pets unattended outside.
During public fireworks displays, keep your pets in a safe place indoors where they won't be able to destroy anything. If your home isn't soundproof, you might want to leave the television or radio on so your pets won't hear the fireworks.
Consult your veterinarian ahead of the holiday if your pets have a tendency to overreact to loud noises.
Fireworks are usually the first thing most people think of when it comes to the Fourth of July, but there are other aspects to the holiday that merit precautions. Most summer season safety measures are worth bearing in mind on Independence Day. Depending on which specific activities comprise your festivities, the following are possible concerns:
During daylight hours, you'll want to protect yourself from excess exposure to the sun. Wear sunscreen and a hat.
Heatstroke and dehydration are other daylight concerns to keep in mind. Be sure to drink plenty of water and seek out shady areas if you feel overheated.
If you host or attend a barbecue, beware of possible fire hazards and outdoor food spoilage.
Depending on your location, you may need to wear insect repellant and be alert for bees or wasps.
Use good judgment when going swimming or boating. Be alert to water conditions, such as water depth and ocean currents. Make sure novice swimmers use flotation devices and children have chaperones.
Have a Blast!
A single article about Fourth of July holiday safety tips can only scratch the surface. To learn more, visit the National Council on Firework Safety website, the federal government's online guide to Independence Day and the Internet resourcespublished by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Becoming knowledgeable about safety measures will help make the holiday more fun for everyone involved.
Buying a home with an enormous backyard is a definite thrill. So much space! There’s room for your dog, a swingset for your 5-year-old, and a deck! For many of us, this is the holy grail.
And you want to build it yourself.
And we’ve got faith in you. We do. But decks are a huge undertaking, and assuming you can get it done with just a drill and a good attitude is a near-guarantee of disaster. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it. It just means you need to pay extra attention with this DIY project. (And remember: Always consult your local building code first and research each element extensively before you start building.)
So, want to learn how to build a deck? Look out for these seven signs you’re building your deck wrong—and some expert tips on how to reverse course.
1. You’re being unrealistic
Sorry, beginners. A deck should never be your first major construction project. Period. End of story. Just stop now. Hire a pro.
You have to know what your skills are. If you’ve never built a small patio deck, then you’re going to struggle with a 20-foot-by-10-foot patio deck.
There’s something to be said for learning on the job, but building a major platform—one that will eventually be filled with family and guests—isn’t the time. You don’t want to put anyone’s life in danger, do you?
You’re building something that not just has people walking on it, but could be loaded down with 4 feet of snow. Ideally, you should have worked with concrete before and be really confident with all sorts of leveling.
2. You didn’t plan a footprint
Before you hammer that first nail, consider how you want to use your outdoor space. Will you eventually add a pool? Does the sun hit the east side of the yard, but not the west? Plan your footprint accordingly.
Here’s why: If you don’t pay attention to the layout of your yard beforehand, you can end up accidentally covering the vents for your washer or dryer or blocking sunlight to the bulkhead window in the basement. Plan that stuff out and understand where you want shade or privacy walls in advance instead of saying ‘It’s springtime!’ and building. Maze Lumber is proud to offer designing services to help you plan out your project with color 3-d rendering and blueprint quality copies of your final design. With all of the new accessories that are out there to add to your deck, such as lighting, glass post tops, hot tubs, and more railing options and styles than the mind can imagine, we can help you find just what you are looking for at an affordable cost.
3. You didn’t call the utility company
The biggest things that can go wrong can happen easily. Perfect example- You're in the back yard drilling holes to lay the cement, and you encounter water and gas lines.
Hitting a gas line will not only force you to take a long break from construction while it’s being fixed, but it could also cause your beloved home to go boom. So make sure to dial 811 a few days before you dig to find out where utilities lines are buried.
4. You didn’t build a proper foundation
Experts can’t emphasize this enough: The No. 1 rule to building your own deck is to build a proper foundation.
The specifics will depend on your locale, but as a general rule, you need to secure the concrete footings holding up your wooden pillars at least 3 to 4 feet beneath the ground, and 12 inches below the frost line—otherwise the winter chill will leave your decking in shambles. And it’s not just cold you need to worry about: High winds can tear decks with poor foundation right out of the earth
Sure, you can build a deck without paying attention to your foundation that looks good as soon as it’s finished, but you walk around on it and nothing stays level and chairs are tipping over.
5. You’re cutting costs
Speaking of safety: Building a deck is not the time to cheap out on supplies. Sure, you can pick up some inexpensive pine at your local home improvement store, but you’ll regret it when it starts to rot one year in, requiring the careful replacement of every single board.
Make sure your wood is pressure-treated and your steel is galvanized or stainless, otherwise all of this stuff will fail and you’ll be playing catch-up.
6. You’re being careless with the railings
Railings are tricky to build, and even harder to build correctly. Your local building codes will likely specify requirements for baluster spacing and rail height. Make sure to follow their guidelines—but also pay attention to ensure your work is solid.
Making sure your railing is actually secure is one of the hardest things to do. You can’t just nail balusters into the side of the outer joists- You'll want to bolt the posts and use heavy-duty screws. If it takes a big hit and someone bumps it, you could rip it straight out of the side of the joist. Do your research, and beef up your railing to make sure you’re doing it right.
If you find this confusing, take the time to talk to an expert before you begin. Usually people can read enough online and figure it out if they’re really committed, but handrails and stairs are where people really throw their hands up and call someone.
7. You’re scared to call in a pro
You can learn a lot online about building a deck. Check out the resources available at This Old House or Professional Deck Builder to get an overview of the process or to get answers to any specific questions you might have about stairs, foundations, or railings. But if you find yourself swimming in information, don’t feel bad calling in a pro.
People sometimes get overconfident, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed it makes sense to call in someone who feels confident. Maze Lumber also offers a list of trustworthycontractors if you just don't have the time to install the deck yourself. As each contractor has their own specialty such as traditional deck building, modern and cutting edge decks, or the-off-the-wall designs that will make people notice that new addition on your house, Maze will be there from the groundbreaking all the way to the champagne bottle breaking.
For homeowners experienced in DIY projects, building a deck can be a fantastic advance-level summer project. But don’t get in over your head: Building something designed to support anything from a few guests for a summer barbecue to a small wedding reception requires the highest level of attention and care.
Whether you are putting on a front stoop, or planning on your family's summer entertaining area, Maze Lumber will take care of all of your needs. Maze is proud to stock Trex Accents decking, Timbertech decking as well as premium southern yellow pine treated decking. We can also special order Timbertech, Azek Decking, Rhino decking, Certainteed decking, Eon, and more! Not only will Maze provide you with all the materials from the concrete and structural treated materials, but will also help you with the designing of your deck.
Summer is a season characterized by beautiful sunshine and blue skies. While this is often the case, we also receive a perilous pounding of summer storms. Beyond the inconvenience of cancelled baseball games and finding your umbrella, these storms can also wreak havoc on your home. Here are a few tips to protect your home:
Even a bit of rain can have a negative impact on your property if gutters aren’t properly cleaned. If you don’t want to hire a professional to clean them out, be sure to take the proper safety precautions when cleaning them yourself. A pressure washer with the proper extension can prove quite useful.
Prepare your family for emergencies.
If severe weather strikes, your family needs to be on the same page. Establish a set meeting place, collect the necessary emergency supplies, and have a plan to communicate with loved ones. Consider purchasing a backup generator to minimize the inconvenience and stay safe. Get more details here.
Check your insurance policy.
Review your property insurance policy and become familiar with what coverages you have. For example, some policies pay the full replacement costs of a new roof, some pay lesser amounts, and some policies depreciate the useful life of the roof.
Regularly trim your trees and remove large, dead branches. These branches can become hazardous during a storm, as they are easily ripped off by the wind and can become projectiles.
Look for roof damage afterward.
Even if your roof does not appear damaged, you should contact your insurance company and have it inspected. Chances are the roof has been damaged. Hail damage is not always readily apparent to untrained eyes looking at the roof from the ground. You should have an inspection performed on the roof itself.
Inspect the full exterior.
Make sure you look at the roofs, siding, windows, etc…. the full exterior envelope you your home. Siding can easily be damaged by hail, as can roofs. If you have a skylight even though it may not appear broken, the seals on the glass can be damaged. Again, careful inspection of all areas is needed.
Hire the right professionals.
If you contract with a contractor to make repairs to your home, make sure the contractor is reputable. You should have a signed contract that clearly spells out what is going to be done, when it is going to be done, and how much it will cost. Materials should be identified clearly so that you understand what is being used on your home.
It is also very, very important to make sure that anyone that works on your home is properly licensed by the State. They also should provide you with evidence of current liability insurance and Workers Compensation insurance. Without proper insurance, you could be exposed to various claims from workers.
Need help finding a local contractor but don't know where to start? Maze Lumber can help point you in the right direction and get you the right contractor for the job. Click here for our list of reliable contractors in the Illinois Valley!