Foundational Tips for Home Builds and Remodels

With the remodel business bringing in $3 billion per year (wow), building and remodeling is booming to say the least. And the team at Murphy Brothers Contracting, Inc. knows a thing or two about remodeling and construction in our area.

Here, longtime Project Manager Vinny Hacket, New Project Development head Michael Murphy, and Cabinetry/Mill Shop Manager Ryan Schildwachter share some of their best tips for those of us thinking of embarking on a new look from the foundation up.


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What are the first things homeowners should consider on a remodel?

Murphy: “Establish a scope of work, a proper budget, and a timeline for completion and make sure that your team knows what it is. Anyone can tell when the project will begin. The question to ask is, ‘When will it end?’”

Hacket: “Budget versus resale, architectural/engineering requirements, timing and impact on family.”

Schildwachter: “Don’t shoot for the stars if you can’t afford it. [It] wastes everyone’s time.”


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What sort of contingency should you plan for when going into a project, whether big or small?

Murphy: “Twelve-to-15 percent on both funds and time.”


What are some of the biggest mistakes homeowners make before and during a remodel?

Hacket: “Not finalizing plans and final decisions on materials and scope, and deciding to keep certain parts of structures to save a little money, which costs them more and affects design in the long run.”

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What are some things homeowners should consider before hiring a team?

Murphy: “[You should ask,] ‘How environmentally responsible do I want my remodel to be?’, ‘Is energy-efficiency important?’, [and], ‘What is my contractor’s position on sustainable or green construction?’” 

Schildwachter: “Construction is a messy, full-contact sport that requires timely participation.”


What are your overall most essential tips?

Hacket: “Spend the time and money beforehand on a qualified architect/engineer and properly vet all options.”

Murphy: “Make sure that [your] contractor is licensed and insured, and that all of his workers and subcontractors are covered by general liability and/or workman’s comp insurance. It’s not worth a lawsuit over a jobsite accident. And ask the following questions:

  • What are your company’s jobsite safety procedures?
  • Who is in charge of my project (get contact number)?
  • Should we have a formal weekly meeting to discuss the progress of the work?
  • What is your change-order policy? (Don’t kid yourself, there will be change orders.)”

Schildwachter: “Make sure that you and your spouse have the same vision and goal with the end result. Communication between spouses is very important when working with the contractor.”


By the Numbers

  • $3 billion approximately spent every year on remodeling.
  • Homeowners who live in a home that is more than four years old will spend $2,200 more per year on projects and upkeep, according to
  • The average bathroom remodel in 2016 cost $17,908, according to
  • A major kitchen remodel costs $59,999 on average, according to the same site, and that is for a midrange remodel. 

Now happy building!


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