Proven Remodeling Process – Easy Step By Step Guide (DIY Checklist)

Whether you’re on the brink to tackle DIY projects, or hiring a Pro. Simply follow my business approved remodeling process step-by-step. As I did for 20 + years

So, you have this Idea …

And now you are looking for the best resources on

                                                     Remodeling and Interior Design in one place

I have great newsYou just struck GOLD

Hello, I am Juergen Kuhlmann, a German Master Craftsman and during 20 years in business…        I personally use the same process, for all of my custom projects.

And I can almost guarantee yours project success

All you need to do is follow this Guide …. step by step

It may not always be perfect, however, it will prevent most costly mistakes

Step 1 The Process

The idea                ( Making your Idea a reality)

Consideration  – What to consider before you get started

Project Blueprint – How to create a project Plan

Designing Basics ( What you need to know)

Electrical Planning – Do you need updates?

Plumbing Planning – What to focus on

HVAC When do you need to make changes?

How to find your perfect contractor in 5 easy steps

Project Tools – Project Scope

Project Schedule

The Project Budget

Something Extra To Chew


We got lots to cover …so lets jump right in!

Q: Your plan is to remodeling your house… but where to start?

A: The  smart way to get started is to focus on following three things:

  • What must be done
  • What are your Skills
  • ROI

Let me explain…

What must be done? – Think of whats wrong with the house, like for example drafty windows, leaking roof, or even structural repairs.

What can you do yourself – Quick & easy fixes to improve your living quality that you can complete as a DIY project because it’s cheaper.

Focus on ROI – What type of home improvement produces the best return on my investment and makes my home more valuable.

In the Infograph below you can see a costs & ROI of home improvement projects by room or area.

Infograph ROI on home improvement projects by space / room

As you can see in the info graph above

Our Guides will explain how to remodel areas of your home … step by step!

Here is what you will learn in Step 1:  The Remodeling Process

  • How to make your Idea a reality?
  • Before you get started – What to consider before remodeling
  • Project Blueprint –  Let’s create the Project Plan?
  • Designing Basics – What you need to know
  • Electrical Schedule – Do you need updates?
  • Plumbing Schedule –  What to focus on
  • HVAC Schedule –  Need to make changes?
  • Professional Help – Hire a Pro or DIY?
  • The Pro Selection – Finding the right Pro

Along the way, we will also shed light on these following questions:

  • How to remodeling a house?
  • How much does it cost to remodel your home?
  • Is it cheaper to build a new house or remodel?
  • How much money do you need to flip a house?
  • Creating a cost estimate
  • Home remodeling DIY Tasks
  • What are good Cash Saving ideas for your budget
  • Download Your Free Remodeling Cost Calculator Workbook (Excel)

As you can see … We have lot’s to cover so let’s jump right in!

The Project Blueprint

Project Blueprint

If you fail to plan & you are planing to fail!

This could not be overstated, To guarantee the best outcome of your project you should plan all possible options and put those together into a project plan. Here we call this the “Project Blueprint”. So before you get the slag-hammer and crowbar out of the garage, you will have to make a few decisions.

Whenever I get a call to schedule my first consultation with a new remodeling client. I usually ask them to prepare for the following questions. And those are the questions you should ask yourself as well.

Why do you wish to remodel?

This may seem crazy, however it helps me to understand the scale of the project and to narrow down the required budget for completion.

Here are the most common answers.

  •  We lived in our house for years and feel like it’s time for an update.
  •  The usability needs to be improved.
  • We just purchased this home and want to adjust it to our lifestyle.
  • This historic house needs more modern conveniences and features.
  • The Existing finishes and surfaces are worn and need replacement.

I am sure you can relate to at least one if not any of these answers. Either one of those will reflect your main goal. And it is important that you keep this  main goal in mind.  Because this will help you to keep your project scope and budget on track.

Next I ask the prospective client to sit down with their family and develop a pro and con list for our meeting.

Let me explain, the pro part of the list will include everything that they currently like about their room (kitchen, bathroom). As vice versa the con part entails everything that needs to be modified.

Why is this important? Well, for one it gives the whole family involved. Plus it helps me further to figure out what features are liked and what exactly needs to change. As well as if we need to involve a kitchen designer or Architect.

Therefore, I strongly recommend that you do the same.

Since you are most likely planning on a DIY project you need to know what feature should stay.  For example if the existing kitchen layout is good and  liked, there is no need to demolish the Cabinetry. You can save yourself a big bundle by refinishing or paint the existing ones.

What in turn is money you can use to upgrade the counter tops or whatever else is on your “Con List”. Besides, sometimes there are furniture pieces that are from sentimental value (mow mows dish rack) that should be incorporated in your new kitchen design

Next I ask the caller to create what I call — a Wish List.

check off your wishlist

Basically what I ask the client to do is look at the “Con List” and decide

What to replace it with. For example the Countertops should be replaced with a black Granite or a new Formica Top. Or the flooring should be tiled or laminate flooring. You get the idea.

So go ahead and  jot down whatever you would love to include in the renovation. Completely disregard any budget concerns for now.

We fine-tune that later on when we decide what is a must have and what we can skip.

Be as thorough as possible and include everything and anything that you like to include in your new room. In a kitchen include cabinetry, appliances and decor.  As well as Light fixtures, Sinks and Faucets and all hardware.

We will certainly utilize this list and create ranking factors for the items on it.

This list will best be placed into a spread-sheet so we can later on place prices beside the items. And that can help us to set a final budget

If you find yourself getting stuck in deciding on design styles or colors. I suggest that you visit our head over to our galleries to browse the inspirational design photos or visit our shop for design products. And if you joined us you can simply save your most favorite ideas with a click of the button in your account for later. Plus you will get free access to our design tools. If however, you rather not want to create a free account you can go with the old Scrapbook Method.

scrapbook image
Scrapbook Image

Please Note: that you should organize your wish-lists by room.

This becomes even more important if you are remodeling a whole house. Since each room will be a project by itself with its own associated tasks and costs.

Further you should break down the projects into more detailed sections.

Take for example a kitchen remodel. You should have images of

  • Cabinetry
  • counter tops
  • flooring
  • faucets
  • sink
  • kitchen island
  • appliances
  • light fixture
  • accessories
  • hardware
  • even the colors you like to use.

Concentrate your collection on design and features.

Don’t take this step lightly, because it will help you later on to finalize your room design.

Speaking of room design, did you decide on your design style yet? Here you can find more details on the  most popular design styles.

Speaking of color there is lots to consider if remodeling a home. Therefor I suggest you update your knowledge on paint and colors.

I will stress this as much as I can. Since colors can make a mediocre design look stunning as well as ruin an awesome room design.

Here you can learn more about  the psychology of color  and their recommended application.

You also should ask yourself how you would like to use some features like lighting in your room. And once you decided that, you can collect the appropriate fixtures by design.

And we can carry on to our next stage.

Besides the things that you like to include in your final room design. You need to consider the more technical aspect of your remodeling project.

Let’s assume that we keep the existing floor-plan of your home.  And we do not relocate walls, windows or doors.

There are still a few technical layouts we need to address:

  • Your Electrical Wiring System
  • Communication and Entertainment
  • Plumbing
  • HVAC

Your Electrical System – Do You Need Updates?

Let me be frank, if terms like 3-14 wiring  and 3 way switch lighting sounds like a SciFi Movie to you. Or if you don’t know how to install a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters) You have in my opinion no business to mess with your electrical wiring system.With all the new technologies and the ever faster evolving changes. Electrical systems need to be developed to keep up with arising future demand.

Just the fundamental electric home wiring from 30 years ago may no longer be sufficient.

Therefore we need to provide sufficient wiring and corresponding circuit breaker for the added functions. That come with your remodel. And if you plan on relocating switches, receptacles, and light fixtures anyway. An upgrade at this point and time would make perfect sense.Needless to say this should be done in the early stages of your remodeling project. Preferably before walls or floor and ceilings are refinished. Once this is done, you will be ready to install the new features that you and your family are hoping to receive.

So now is the time to nail down the type of illumination as well as other sorts of systems to be utilized.

I would suggest that before you decide on any upgrades to consult with a professional electrician.  The goal is to a) find out if your system is sufficient and b) what upgrades would be required.

Usually there are upgrade options. In some cases it may be sufficient to ad an additional service panel to cover the additional load. What is only a small investment and should be well worth it with outlook on what you gain.

Other times it is necessary to do a full service upgrade. What will get a good bit pricier. However, it may payoff in the long run as well. Especially since you could prepare for the future.

Plan for the Future

Wemo Mini Smart Plug, Wi-Fi Enabled, Works with Alexa and Google Assistant

Although the new systems available are complicated ironically their purpose is to simplify your life. You could now incorporate all your houses major systems into an entire residence automation.

Also if you are not ready for this sort of system or your budget does not permit it, you must take into consideration doing the pre-wiring for the future as much as feasible.
As modern technology developments, there is a great chance that in the future you would certainly like to include some smart home technology.

The expense for this is minimal at this stage of the job.
It is also an excellent concept to have your draw up a set of plans and take pictures with the circuitry places. That will enabling you to easily locate them at a later point and time.

Electrical Planning Based On Rooms

When planning your electrical system it is best to create a plan for each room or area that will be remodeled. For our remodeling process it is essential to focus on all functions like Receptacles , Lighting and Switches.

For example in a kitchen remodel make sure that proper supply for all of your major appliances like Stove, Dishwasher, Garbage Disposal, Refrigerator, and your Microwave Oven are placed in the correct location.

Further You will need Outlets for your small kitchen appliances above the Countertops.

And finally you need to make sure that you have at least one receptacles approximately 4″ from each corner of your room installed. As long as they are not hidden by Kitchen Cabinets. To be able to plugin a floor lamp, vacuum or what ever else you may need to hook up.

Next step in the Remodeling Process is to plan your room lighting

You should consider if you will you have china cabinetry that is illuminated

Or if you install LED Lighting under the hanging Cabinetry to light up the counter area. You need also decide based on your room usage where  light fixtures need to get installed. This little Lighting Guide may come in handy.

Update to energy efficient lighting

Updating Your Plumbing System – What To Focus On

You should plan the plumbing design layout early in the process. This is necessary to prevent pricey adjustments later.
Start by establishing exactly what sort of system you will use. As well as the location for supply.

For example your fridge will most likely need a water line hook up.

And if you use a dishwasher and / or a garbage disposal the drain system and supply lines need to be present.

Be sure to have sufficient options to shut off the water supply. I would recommend a general shut-off valve for each room (each bath, laundry and kitchen).

In addition install 1/4 turn shut-offs for your faucets, toilets and supply lines of all appliances.

This will make it easy to turn off water independently from the rest of the room. Also, If you change locations you need to make sure that your waistlines are properly vented to guarantee quick and quiet drainage.

Plumbing Updates
Plumbing of the 11 Function Shower Tower

With all that being said. Most of your required changes will depend on the depth of remodeling you want to do. For example if you only want to update some fixtures and refresh the look of your kitchen or bath no mayor changes would be required.

Typically speaking there is no need to replace any reliable plumbing component unless you are removing walls or the location of that component.

It is just the fact of my experience that since walls are opened up or sub-flooring is removed it is best to go ahead and replace the old stuff. I had my share of bath and kitchen renovations where we had problem with the old plumbing after the renovation project was completed.

DIY Plumbing

If you do opt to replacing supply lines I would strongly suggest to use PEX Tubing. Pex-tubing is made out of a light weight plastic that is conneted through brass fittings that you slide into the end of the plastic tube and secure it with a cramped ring around the tube.

The PEX system is super easy to install and if you plan on a whole home remodeling this is the way to go. It is available in 1/2Inch, 3/4Inch and 1 Inch diameter.

Delta Shower Valve Body For Pex - Best Prices - Delta R10000-MF MultiChoice Universal - Top Home Design
Delta Shower Valve Body For PEX

I use it in all of my remodeling projects and if properly installed it is fail proof.

And the beauty of it is , it’s fairly inexpensive and great for your budget.

I would suggest you start using it for each bath room , your kitchen and Laundry Area at first by just tying into your old supply lines. Replace the existing galvanized or copper lines in your walls with 1/2 Inch PEX.

One you completed each of your plumbing sections (rooms). You can replace the main lines with either 3/4 or 1 Inch PEX. This will update you full system and provide even water pressure at all locations. In addition I suggest to insulate your warm water heater and supply lines to reduce heat loss and improve energy efficiency.

I will also share some information on a super water saver in a later post. As well as details on choosing the most efficient warm water heating system for you and your family.

Additional Plumbing Options To Consider

Another factor you might want to consider to install is a water filtration
There are basically two ways to make your selection for the system that fits your needs.

One is by performance and another one is by price.

If you want to base your decision on the performance you need to consider the size of your family and their way of usage. More people living in a home equals more laundry, showers or even baths.

Water purification systems have actually evolved though the past years. And now a day there are many whole home systems that could filter all inbound water or simply to isolated fixture as well as device areas. But more on this subject in an other post.

HVAC – Updates – When Do You Need Changes?

Unlike numerous other areas of a remodeling project, Do It Yourself home heating as well as duct is not really recommended. This component of the renovation ought to be delegated to skilled Heating and Air Professionals.

Audel HVAC Fundamentals, Volume 1: Heating Systems, Furnaces and Boilers
HVAC – Book

It calls for large knowledge and also abilities to effectively design, layout and install a high quality home heating & cooling system.

Usually there is no need to change any of your duct or even the Unit unless it is getting close to be about 10 years old.

In that case you could opt for a new system because it would improve your air quality as well as energy efficiency.

However unless you are planning on relocating Heating and cooling vents or expanding your home with a room-addition there is no need to mess with your HVAC system.

Here is  more information on different Heating & Cooling options And Air Quality.

Once you have completed all these lists. We can filter out all the required project tasks and move them into our Project Scope.

As for any Do It Yourself Projects I would suggest to check out my work safety tips

Remember Our Idea-books Or your Scrapbook Method?


Something Extra To Chew On.

Is Remodeling Your Home Worth The Cost?

As you already know there are all kinds of reasons why homes are getting  remodeled. For one your spouse got a brand-new idea to make use of your old home office. Or your kitchen hasn’t had any updates since 1969.

Maybe even some surfaces are really worn and used up or you just like to improve the kitchens functionality.

And finally You might be interested in selling grandmas old home that she left you. And you realized that you can sell it faster or yield a better price, if the ideal property buyer were to come along.
Therefor you probably wondering … exactly how do you choose what to change. And to what extend will be remodeling beneficial. As well as what will make your life much easier while potentially increasing the homes resell value…. Here you can find our Remodeling FAQs that will shed some light onto these questions and hopefully provide you with the answers that you are looking for.

Seeking inspiration for your remodeling project? Locate designs, remodel concepts in our Design Gallery.

Step 2 Choose Your Actionable Project Guide

Now you are ready to take action, choose the link below to select you Project Type

  Bathroom Remodeling

Remodeling Process & Bathroom Remodeling Guide
Remodeling Process & Bathroom Remodeling Guide

  Kitchen Remodeling

Remodeling Process & Kitchen remodeling guide
Remodeling Process & Kitchen remodeling guide

Additional Space

Remodeling Process to Basement Remodel - Home Theater
Remodeling Process to Basement Remodel – Home Theater

Smart Home Tips

Remodeling Process For Smart-homes