Time vs. Budget vs. Quality | Demo Day



Time, money and the quality of the finished project, the three biggest factors in a remodel.

Often we need to get creative with budget and how everything will be completed within the time that is allocated. This results in our clients occasionally proposing to do the demo themselves!

Although we embrace any creative ways to save some precious dollars, we feel the need to share a little about this process because we’ve certainly seen this creative solution go awry.

We have all heard “demo day is my favorite day,” and honestly it is one of our favorite days as well. It signifies the start of a new beginning, it creates anticipation of what we will find behind those walls or what got hidden in the time capsule of building your home.

Our first question is have you ever remodeled before?

If this is your first time, there are a few things to be aware of:

  • How will you protect the space not being affected by demo? Dust is sneaky and the toxins that are found beneath older items can be harmful if you are remaining in your home during demo and construction.
  • Where are you going to put the demoed items? Have you thought about donating them? How will you haul them? Do you need a dumpster or will a bagster do?
  • If you are tearing out carpet for a hardwood installation have you thought about how many staples are in the carpet and padding that need to come out in order to install wood? How will you dispose of it, can you fit it all in your trash, can you carry a large roll or will you need to cut it into strips?
  • If you are tearing off cabinets, has your home been tested for lead based paint or asbestos?
  • When you demo your cabinets, what happens if there is a leak in your plumbing or gas shut off?
  • Do you know what kind of framing you have? It is wood studs or metal? Do you have drywall or lathe and plaster?

After the demo is finished, we need to make sure that the house is then ready to have everything re-installed and that comes with it’s own heap of questions and things to be aware of: 

  • How will you prep the space for the installers?
  • Do you need to encapsulate the substrate due to previous damage from a pet?
  • Do you have the correct tools to demo the space? Or will you need to rent some?
  • If you damage something that wasn’t part of the original scope how will you address the repair?


So, you’re feeling confident with the above questions, you figured out where things will go and how it’ll be put back in place. Now, what do you need to begin?

  • Time… and lots of it, keep in mind you will need to move items from the demoed area, unfasten the material from it’s secure location, move it to a desired disposal location and prep for install, typically it takes 3x as long as you think it will
  • Tools… what are the best or most useful tools for the job and do you have them or will you rent them? Have you checked their availability? Or is this just a really great reason to stock up your workbench?
  • Disposal… Will you have a dumpster? How many times will it need to be emptied? Will a bagster do? What is the cost of haul away and how will you manage it?
  • Protection… A mask or sometimes a protective suit may be a good idea if you are dealing with airborne elements. Also covering your air ducts with a tight filter will prevent some of the dust from spreading throughout the home. Plastic doorways or fully wrapped electronics may be a good solution to protect your technology.
  • Which breaker affects the area you are working in?
  • What (and where) are the shut-off capabilities of the water or gas?

What will you do with what you discover?

The hardest part about taking the DIY Approach here, is that deadlines can really make or break a remodel.

If you’re doing the demo and decide that you don’t want to do it anymore or if you find something unexpected while ripping the walls out, you can’t necessarily find someone to come in and finish the job on short notice. A delay in one part of the process can affect all the following pieces and prevent them from coming together for weeks or even months down the line.

Trades people often are booked several weeks in advance and if something comes up that affects the ability to install, sometimes a project will be put on hold until the installer is available again.

We encourage our clients to think outside of the box and to propose any way that they may want to utilize the time vs money scale, we also encourage education in construction. There are always creative ways to address challenges and everyone has connections in their life that they can utilize when remodeling. 

If you’re wanting to remodel a part of your home this year, call us and let’s get that conversation started! Even if you don’t want to tackle it until the fall, the sooner we start talking, the more likely your project is to run smoothly and result in your dream home.

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