Top Remodeling & Design


When Remodeling A House What Should Be Done First?


Martha Stewart’s Decorating Editorial Director, Kevin Sharkey has completed a year-long renovation on his house, including some fantastic do’s and don’ts. First step: build a decorating file by “pulling everything and anything that you like or think you would like to see in space.” This can be a real physical file (good for paint chips) or using Pinterest as a place to pin and store anything from furniture to flooring to online sample rooms.

You are going to want to start doing this now, even though you don’t intend to make any changes for a while. You don’t want to be on the road for a year trying to find out where you saw the great chandelier that would make up your room.

Once you’ve got some idea of how you want things to look, you can embark on a plan of action.


Do Your Floors First.

People like Sharkey believe they first do the floors, and then work up and out. The floors are a growing undertaking, usually costly, not to mention they can be time-intensive and very dirty work. Have them done, cover them up, and move on to something else.

When asked if floors should come first or last, Tom Silva from This Old House replied: “You can do it either way. My painting contractor wants to be last so doesn’t have to repaint baseboards that have been splotched with stain or polyurethane, or nicked by a sander.”


Just Kidding. Do Your Floors Last.

“My flooring contractor sees things a little differently,” continued Silva in This Old House. “He prefers to be last because floor finishes take a while to fully cure, so he doesn’t want anyone walking on them even when they’re covered with protective tarps. He also says it’s pretty common for other contractors to damage or spill stuff on a finished floor. The way he figures it, it’s much easier to touch up paint than a floor finish.”

360 Mortgage agrees, emphasizing that home renovations that involved moving or eliminating walls, moving appliances and “taking out sheetrock and drywall can leave the original floors of your house in very poor condition.”

“Although renovating flooring is one of the most coveted home renovations, homebuyers should avoid it at all cost until they know that they are through with any other major remodeling projects.”


Do Your Kitchen First.

A kitchen remodel usually yields a return on investment of about 70 percent. And we’re all aware that a great kitchen will help sell a home. So, it makes sense to do your kitchen first from a smart-renovations-in-case-you-want-to-turn-around-and-sell viewpoint.

Plus, if you have an old, dirty, and rundown kitchen, you ‘re going to want to brighten up and upgrade the room as soon as possible which is why people sometimes start swinging the hammer in their kitchen before they even move in.

If you’re redoing the whole thing and you’re still living in the house, prepare to be a little displaced. Set up a mobile kitchen in an alternate room with a microwave, and stick to a schedule to push through the renovation as efficiently and comfortably as possible while maintaining your wits about you.


On Second Thought, Wait In The Kitchen.

Save it for when everything else is done is best. It’s messy after all, it’s unpleasant and it’s costly. Isn’t all the smaller stuff (painting, new switch plate covers, new light fixtures) best done first? After all, according to HGTV, “the average cost for an upscale kitchen remodel is more than $80,000.”

If you need more time to work out the plan, save some money, or can carve out a lot of time when renovating could be more convenient (like after the kids are out of school and shopping off to gramma’s house for a couple of weeks?), making your kitchen last remodel makes a lot of sense.


Confused? Yeah, We Know.

The bottom line is that there is no absolutely right or completely incorrect way to go about the renovation. The choices are personal, so you have to approach them personally. Ask yourself some important questions to help you find this out:


Did You Save Everything You Needed To Save?

Would your renovation plans be derailed by an unforeseen situation? If it did, and you had to scale back, what would change most?

What are your house targets? Looking for a time to live or are you refurbishing to sell at a higher price?

If you still haven’t got a reply, do this: think about how you feel at home. Do you walk in and cringe into the kitchen or feel uncomfortable because of the color of the walls in some rooms?

Look around. Are the floors not just ugly but unsafe because of cracking or splitting? Would moving that wall completely change the flow of the home and reveal the rest of the changes that need to be made?

A few practical questions like this could provide you with the answers you need for a good renovation to move forward.