weather icon Clear

What to expect during remodel project

Dear Gail: We’re thinking about doing some remodeling but are nervous as we’ve heard horror stories. It’s really not something we have to do but, of course, want to. Before we make the big leap can you tell us what we might expect? — Roger &Dotty

Dear Roger &Dotty: Remodeling is a big step, especially if it is a big job. Although no matter whether you’re just painting, adding a wall unit or gutting a kitchen, there are things you need to be aware of. As I only have so much space, I’m going to share a few aspects of the process, so your remodel won’t be the next big horror story.

Labor alone on any project can be 50 percent of the overall budget. No different than when you take your car to a mechanic. You’re paying for that person’s knowledge and experience. If you need to cut costs, labor is one of the places.

But really be honest with yourself if you have the expertise and time to do it. Sometimes those DIY projects end up costing more in both time and money when, in the end, you have to hire someone to fix or finish the project.

Honesty and communication are two of the biggest keys to any successful project. I haven’t met a mind reader yet. Have you?

You must communicate with your contractor and designer on precisely what you want, your budget, time frame, and overall expectations. Now is the time to ask those thousand questions. No one means to assume, but it happens. Nobody likes excuses or surprises on either side of the project.

You need to be realistic with how long it will take. Don’t push your contractor or designer to an unrealistic deadline. You want the job done right, so let them. Don’t decide a month before the big wedding you want a new bathroom because you have the reception at your house. There are always unforeseen things that will happen, and all you’re doing is setting the stage for a stressful process.

Lead times are challenging to plan for. Don’t fall in love with something before you find out how long it’s going to take to ship. Realize that even if it’s in stock this morning, by the time you’re ready to order, it can be out of stock. I’ve had it happen more than once over my 27 years.

To me, having all the materials on-hand before starting alleviates one significant portion of the stress factor. It’s worth the storage fee or having your car parked in the driveway for a couple weeks.

If you’re expecting the job to go seamlessly with no hiccups, you’re going into this with blinders on. Things happen, it’s life, we’re not perfect, and we’re human.

Contractors are not Superman. They don’t have X-ray vision to see behind walls or through ceilings. So when something is uncovered during demolition, you can’t hold it against him.

You need to stop and make a sound decision on what you need to do and how it will affect your vision, time frame, and budget. I always advise having a 25 percent contingency in a budget. If you don’t have to use it, great, go on vacation. But if you do, you know it’s there.

Also, understand that people get sick, cars break down and weather can affect what you’re doing. The world is not perfect.

Just because you’ve hired a contractor doesn’t mean you’ve relinquished all responsibility. My dad taught me to always check things twice before jumping in. Inspect everything at every step of the way; you might catch something or decide you want to change it. Easier to do before the tile is set and grouted.

Examine the materials being used and make sure they are up to your expectations and what you ordered. Your contractor may not know you ordered black tiles. If you have him pick them up, make sure to check them before any work begins. The number may be right on the box, but it could have been boxed wrong. It happens.

If you’re a clean freak, get ready to be freaked out. You can’t get away from the dust — you just can’t. Everyone does the best to cover entirely every niche and cranny, but dust will still get through.

If you can’t handle being inconvenienced, well, remodeling is not for you. They do their best to limit the disruptions of your space, but they need to get the work done. If it really turns your world upside down, look into a staycation at a nearby hotel.

Other things to look into are budgeting, whether or not you want to be the contractor, the proper paperwork when hiring a contractor, permits and licensing,

I guarantee you that you will reach a day when you’re just done with it and wish you had never started. I know because I was there twice myself. But it too shall pass, and in the end, you’ll wish you wouldn’t have waited so long to start.

Gail Mayhugh, owner of GMJ Interiors, is a professional interior designer and author of a book on the subject. Questions may be sent by email to GMJinteriors@gmail.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Heavier traffic expected from EDC festival attendees
Electric Daisy Carnival attendees began to vacate the Las Vegas Motor Speedway starting before 5 a.m., the majority heading south on Interstate 15.
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC
What it's like to skip the lines and fly by helicopter to EDC. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
DJ Steve Aoki visits Las Vegas comic book store
DJ Steve Aoki visits Torpedo Comics in Las Vegas Friday, May 17, 2019, for a signing for his new comic book series "Neon Future." (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas Smith & Wollensky opens at The Venetian
After 18 years, the Smith & Wollensky location on Las Vegas’ south Strip closed in 2017, to be re-born two years later with a rib-cutting — instead of a ribbon-cutting — in The Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
Colin Cantwell, Creator Of Iconic Star Wars Ships Visits Vegas
Colin Cantwell, who created and designed such "Star Wars" ships as the X-Wing fighter, and Death Star, met fans at Rogue Toys in Las Vegas today. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Beauty & Essex in Las Vegas makes an EDC Wonder Wheel
In honor of the Electric Daisy Carnival, Beauty & Essex at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas makes its Wonder Wheel party-worthy. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Giada talks Vegas Uncork’d
Giada De Laurentiis talks during Aperitivo Hour, a Vegas Uncork'd event, at her Caesars Palace restaurant, Pronto, May 10, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Scenes from Vegas Uncork’d 2019 on the Las Vegas Strip
The 13th edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit brought four days of food, wine, celebrity chefs and parties to town, May 9-12. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Three ingredients Gordon Ramsay can’t live without
Bon Appetit's Andy Baraghani interviews the "Hell's Kitchen" chef during a Vegas Uncork'd event at Caesars Palace, May 11, 2019. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegas Uncork’d launches wiith bubbles and a blade
Dozens of chefs representing some of the Strip’s top restaurants gathered Thursday at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas to launch the 2019 edition of Vegas Uncork’d by Bon Appetit. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bunky the Clown at the clown convention
Bob "Bunky the Clown" Gretton talks about his life as a clown and the Clown Convention which was in Las Vegas at Texas Station this week. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Frying soft-shell crab at Lola’s in Las Vegas
At Lola’s: A Louisiana Kitchen in Las Vegas, soft-shell crab is breaded and fried and served either as an appetizer, po’boy or platter. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
The Stove in Henderson makes Pecan Pie Pancakes
At The Stove in Henderson, chef/partner Antonio Nunez stacks buttermilk pancakes with pecans and dulce de leche and tops them pie crust crumbs. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vinnie Paul remembered at Count's Vamp'd
The late rocker's favorite table at one of his favorite clubs in Las Vegas. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
4DX movie experience at Red Rock
4DX movie experience during a demo reel at Red Rock. (Christopher Lawrence/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
What To Do On May The 4th
There are plenty of events going on May the 4th this year around Las Vegas. Celebrate Star Wars and Comic Book Day all at once. The Rogue Toys, the 501st, Rebel Legion and Millennium Fandom Bar are all hosting fun events to help celebrate your geek-dom. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Water Sports Introduces New Attraction At Lake Las Vegas
Las Vegas Water Sports will debut its new aqua park attraction at Lake Las Vegas Days this weekend. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Making the Space Invader at Greene St. Kitchen in Las Vegas
Lysa Huerta, pastry cook at Greene St. Kitchen at the Palms in Las Vegas, starts with angel food cake, Fruity Pebbles ice cream and strawberry sorbet to create a space creature engulfed in flashing lights and swirling mists. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Pools
The M, Park MGM and NoMad are just a few great pools in Las Vegas. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jose Andres explains Iberico pork
(Al Mancini/Las Vega Review-Journal)
Inside Life is Beautiful
Craig Asher Nyman explains how Life is Beautiful festival is booked and talks about this year's line-up. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America Pops Up In Vegas
Tattoo'd America, a new pop-up attraction on the Linq Promenade, had their grand opening Friday. The attraction is dedicate to the culture of tattoos. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Jose Andres gets key to the Strip
Chef Jose Andres was presented with a Key to the Las Vegas Strip and a proclamation declaring April 26 Jose Andres Day in Clark County by County Commissioner Tick Segerblom on Friday. The ceremony took place at his restaurant Bazaar Meat in the SLS Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Sadelle’s in Las Vegas makes a grilled cheese with an inverted bagel
Michael Vargas, executive sous chef at Sadelle’s at Bellagio in Las Vegas, inverts an everything bagel and grills it with Swiss, cheddar and Muenster cheeses to make the Inverted Bagel Grilled Cheese. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita
Learn how to make China Poblano's Salt Air Margarita (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America invites you to have fun and take pictures. (Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Prime rib is carved tableside at Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Las Vegas
Dave Simmons, executive chef of Lawry’s The Prime in Las Vegas, which plans special cuts for National Prime Rib Day, demonstrates the restaurant’s service from rolling tableside carving carts. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Berkus and Brent create spring line for Living Spaces

Celebrity interior design couple Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent are back with another collection for Living Spaces. From French antique-inspired carved feet to geometric marble accents, the line has a range of pieces suitable for the minimalist to the statement-maker.

Myriad products make bathroom remodel fun

Bathroom products have changed in the past 20 to 30 years. So if you’re looking to remodel your old bathroom, shop around for the perfect flooring, cabinets, shower surround, bathtub, sinks, fixture and lighting.

Stay away from heirloom varieties of asparagus

Asparagus usually grows well here, but there are some differences among the varieties. Stay away from heirloom varieties such as Mary Washington because they don’t produce enough spears in any climate.

Shock program rids your pool of yellow algae

If your pool water has gone from clear to yellow, you probably have yellow algae. The pool store will have chemicals to treat the water. When used with super-chlorination, products such as Yellow Out will kill yellow algae.

When accessorizing, start with what you have

Accessories are a simple and inexpensive way to update a room, and there is no long-term commitment. You can change each season, add colors or have fun with a new trend with just a few pieces.

Give your home a fresh coat of paint

The exterior paint on most stucco homes in Southern Nevada is expected to last anywhere from 10 to 15 years before it starts breaking down.

Spray grapevines to control pests

Grapeleaf skeletonizer and grape flea beetle were found in the orchard during the last couple of days. These two pests damage grape leaves but few other plants.