Dark grout hides dirt but it also highlights badly aligned tiles. And since you can’t make changes after grout is applied, it pays to be an eagle every step of the way.
This happened to us: The Greek key entry isn’t the only tilework we’ve had to rip out. A while back, we noticed that a half wall of grouted kitchen tile had corner edges that didn’t meet. Fixing that required pulling out the work piece by piece. Lacey has since taken an all-woman course that taught her to wield a tile saw and lay subway tiles herself.
Bottom line: If you’re going for a contrasting look, you need solid tilework.
7. Add dimmers to all the lights.
It’s far more cost-effective to install electrical wiring during the construction phase than after your walls are closed up.
This happened to us: A regret on one of our first house projects is that we only used old-fashioned flip switches.
Bottom line: Controlled lighting is a worthwhile upgrade in every remodel: pony up for dimmers.
8. Spring for a quality thermostat, fire detector, and carbon monoxide alarm.
When you’re spending a lot of time renovating, go all in and modernize the crucial monitoring and safety elements. And do it early on.
This happened to us: The thermostat on a project was at 68—but turned out to be malfunctioning and blowing an insane amount of heat into the house: Our first bill was for $1,000. We now plan to install a Nest at the start of every remodel.
Bottom line: Safety and accuracy come first.
9. Build in bonuses for completing the work on time.
If you’re working on a whole house, chances are your timeline is going to evolve, like a lot. The scope of work and deadlines should all be in writing. Ultimately, though, your timeline will slip; that’s just realistic. A tip that can keep everyone motivated is bonuses for on-time or early completion. This, of course, depends on working with a GC you trust to do the job right.
This happened to us: A recent project took a year to complete. The one before that was done in three months. True, the scopes differed, but not enough to explain such a wide range.
Bottom line: Work crews respond well to incentives. They also need to be kept happy: stopping by with sandwiches, snacks, and drinks is an easy way to keep the project positive and cranking.
Lacey and Audrey chronicle their projects on Instagram @matriarchybuild.com and stand ready to connect Philadelphia and vicinity remodelers with women crews at Matriarchy Build.
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