What to Know Before You Start a Remodel

First things first: Nothing about a remodel this year is “typical.” That’s because a combination of market forces is making this an unpredictable time for remodelers.

After a year stuck at home, many Americans are itching to refresh their homes. The resulting demand, coupled with production and supply chain issues related to COVID-19, have created shortages of some products and high prices on many things, says Tracey Humphrey, an interior designer with Floor to Ceiling, 701 E. South St., in Freeport.

“We’re having challenges scheduling things and getting materials here,” she says. “People might expect to be done in a month, but the countertop producers are taking a month just to get measurements. Lumber is expensive. Contractors are busy. Getting cabinetry has gone from 4-8 weeks to almost 18 weeks.”

While Humphrey specializes in design, flooring, tile, cabinets, countertops and remodeling services, she’s also seeing unusual patterns in the availability of appliances.

Today’s market is certainly challenging, but it’s not all doom and gloom. Humphrey and other area remodelers remain committed to seeing a job through, even if it takes longer than usual.

Typically, a kitchen and bath designer is the first stop for a client. A designer helps to create a vision for the project and walks the client through the selection process as they pick out cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures, wall colors and flooring. If they don’t already have a contractor, clients can typically work through their designer to locate one. The designer often helps to coordinate the entire process.

“I can order materials, get things going, and I basically run the job,” Humphrey says. “I set up the contractor, I set up the countertop people, I get pricing, I go back and forth on everything, and the job just runs right through me.”

As you prepare for your big remodel this year, be sure to plan ahead and be patient.

“We’re all in the same boat,” says Humphrey. “It feels like all of us are going through this together.” ❚