Understand The Process
Renovating older homes (1970 and prior) is a much more difficult (and costly) process versus renovating newer homes due to a number of issues that a homeowner typically runs into. Most older homes have been renovated in the past by the previous homeowner(s) or handymen and the work was poorly done, and not to code. Even if it was done to code at the time it will not meet the stringent codes that exist today causing many components that will need to be updated including plumbing, electrical and bearing walls. It's important to understand that all of the existing components that are in the home are grandfathered in and do not need to be updated until you decide to do a remodeling project. Once you decide that you're ready for a remodeling a remodeling project that needs to be permitted than all of the components that are affected in that area will need to be brought up to code.
How Is This Different From A Newer Home?
Simple. Newer homes typically have plumbing, electrical and structural framing that meets or closely meets the codes of today so these components don't likely need to be changed out when a remodel is done. Or if we are adding plumbing, electrical or framing we can tie into the existing system without issue. Older homes don't have this luxury typically adding 30-40% more to the cost of the job to get it done right.
Give Me Some Examples
Dormers: Dormers on older homes typically need to have the foundation reinforced as it doesn't meet engineering standards to carry the extra load that the dormer will require. Many contractors don't understand this and get to the inspection process only to learn that it won't pass.
Kitchen/Bath: Plumbing & electrical are the main culprits when we are remodeling a kitchen or bathroom in craftsman or mid century homes. The plumbing & electrical is usually very outdated and the size of the pipes, the type of wiring and the location of both is typically not acceptable to pass the codes enforced today.
Basements: Basements typically have a host of issues that need to be addressed including ceiling height, proper egress (doorways/windows), electrical, plumbing and HVAC. All of these components in the area to be remodeled need to be updated adding to the cost of the project.
Siding: When doing a residing older homes there are a number of challenges including lead paint issues, dry rot and flashing issues that typically need to be located and repaired, and many additional components that typically need to be replaced versus a newer home (window trim, insulation, fascia/soffit, railings & columns).
What To Look For In A Remodeling Company
Experience: We recommend that you choose a contractor who specializes in working on older homes and has the infrastructure and knowledge critical to having a successful remodeling experience on an older home. At LRS we have in house project consultants and lead carpenters that are well versed in remodeling homes built before 1960 who bring a wealth of experience to explain the processes up front on what you can expect. We try to price in everything upfront so you aren't constantly surprised by "hidden costs" that the contractor didn't see before hand due to inexperience with older homes.
FIR Program: LRS is part of the FIR program with the city of Portland which means we get the same inspector assigned to us for all of our projects. This allows us to establish a relationship with this inspector, ask our inspector questions before the project starts to insure that it will be approved creating a streamlined, easy process insuring that our projects run smoothly. An example of this is we had a ceiling height that was too short by 1/2 inch on a basement remodel and to raise it would have required major framing changes and thousands in extra costs. We were able to discuss this with our assigned inspector and he provided us with some simple work arounds that would pass the final inspection shaving a week off of the jobs duration and saving our client 5-7 thousand dollars in the process.
Scheduling/Communication: We use CoConstruct online software to manage all of our remodeling projects. CoConstruct is a closed loop, cloud based system that allows all contractor/client communication to exist in one space (no more going through texts, and emails to find a critical piece of information) and also allows for our clients to see the scheduling of the project in real time. Our clients get their own web page within the software so they can check on the progress of the project or communicate with their project consultant at any time throughout the projects duration.
Our People: We are most proud of our staff and installers as we know that great people make all of the difference. All of our lead carpenters are in-house and go through an extensive interview process (out of 50 interviewed 1 is picked). Many of our project consultants and lead carpenters are former business owners and take pride in quality craftsmanship, materials and the customer experience which is what we like to refer to as "The Lifetime Way".
Request An Estimate
If you’ve done the research and feel that we are a good fit for your remodeling project give us a call at 503-242-4242 or Request An Estimate and one of our professional project managers will contact you, answer any questions and schedule a free in-home consultation.
Need more information before contacting us? Download our Free Remodel Information Packet.