Category Archives: Thinking About Remodeling

6 Types of Window Options

One of the complaints in older San Diego homes is that the house is too dark.  Another complaint we hear frequently in San Diego is that the home is too hot or too cold, depending on the time of year.  The solution to both of those problems are simple: get new windows!

If your home is too dark, you can create a new opening to add windows to your home. Windows are wonderful for bringing in natural light to your living areas. Alternatively, you can widen existing openings to create larger windows.  If you can not visualize the best placement for new window openings, your best bet is to contact a contractor to assist you (ahem, we are available Monday through Saturday!)

Did you know having the right windows in your home can cut your electricity bill? Yes, it can! Better insulated windows mean your windows will hold up the fight against the elements. Your home won’t get too hot or cold and that means less heating and cooling used to keep the home comfortable.   Dual pane windows will save you money as well as time spent cleaning because there will be more dust control with new windows.   Let us introduce you to the wonderful world of windows!


Fixed Picture Windows - Window Replacements San Marcos CA

Adding Fixed and Picture Windows

These large windows do not open and no screen is required because these windows are for the purpose of seeing a large beautiful view. Since these windows do not open, you could have two smaller windows on the side of this large window to let the breeze in. If you have breathtaking views, this is the way to go.

Sliding Windows - Replacement Windows San Marcos CA


Sliding windows are probably the least expensive window option. You can get these windows in any size and can look great on any home.

Double Hung Windows - Window Contractor San Marcos CA

Single or double hung

Hung windows can be lifted or pushed down depending on how they are placed. In double- and single-hung windows, screens are mounted on the outside. You can tell if it’s a single hung window if only the lower half is screened. Windows without screens tend to look better depending on your area of living you can have the option to have screens on your windows.

Casement Windows - Window Replacement Contractor San Marcos CA


Casement window swings open like doors swing open. You can get these windows with a knob and handle. You can have these windows with or without the screens.

Awing Windows - Window Company San Marcos CA


Awning windows by lifting outward and swinging up. These are like a horizontal casement windows and screens can be mounted in these. These types of windows can go well with a modern style home.

Glass Block Windows - New Windows San Marcos CA

Glass Block

Glass blocks are more commonly used in bathrooms. This look can give your wall a translucent look. While this is a dated look, it still remains popular and the perfect solution for spa-inspired bathrooms. This option is perfect you want natural light in your bathroom without adding clear windows. This option is great for doing that and also adding some privacy.

Window Material

Window material can be made out of various materials like aluminum, wood, vinyl and even fiberglass! Depending on the type of windows you end up choosing, you can mix and match the materials. As long as the materials are strong and support it’s purpose, your windows will look amazing.

5 Types of Residential Remodeling Contractors

Would you be surprised to know there are 5 different type of residential remodeling contractors offering 5 very different home remodeling services?  Have you ever called a contractor only to find out they do not offer the services you are requesting?  Here is a break down of the type of residential remodeling contractors you will find in San Diego:

Design Build and Whole House Remodeling

Design Build contractors and contractors who have the ability to complete whole house remodeling are the Lexus of the remodeling world.  These contractors can create a dream space out of a simple box.  Design Build companies are responsible for architecture, design, and construction of major remodel projects.

Home Additions

Home addition contractors could almost be combined with Design Build and Whole house remodeling contractors, although we did not combine them in this article because there are some home addition contractors who do not offer design.  Some home addition contractors are really home addition builders.  The only difference is they would rather build than design.  So if you hire an architect or design separately and just want a home addition builder, these are your guys!


In San Diego these types of remodeling contractors refer to themselves as kitchen and bathroom remodeling contractors.  Kitchen and bathroom remodeling is quite prominent in San Diego because homeowners are electing to stay in their house longer, rather than relocating.

Kitchen and bathroom remodeling contractors are often times less experienced than Design Build contractors.  There is plenty of work available to them because many homeowners want simple updates that do not require knocking down or building new walls.  Kitchen remodels and bathroom remodels take significantly less time than whole house remodels or design build projects.


Restoration is quite different than remodeling.  Restoration contractors are hired after fire, wind,  or water damage has occurred in the home.  They are specialized remodelers who have extensive experience working with insurance companies.  Restoration contractors typically do not update the home, rather they are there to restore the home to the way it was before the natural disaster.

Residential Service Contractors (Trade-specific contractors)

Trade-specific contractors can almost be considered emergency service contractors.  For example, if you have a toilet that is backed up, you would call a plumbing contractor.  If your air conditioning went on the fritz, you would call a heating and air contractor.  Other trade-specific contractors are not emergency related and include tile setters (if you want to re-tile your flooring, but not remodel your whole bathroom) or roofers (although your roofer is not licensed for wood replacement so be aware of what their license allows them to do!)

Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is located in Escondido, CA.  We have three divisions to our company which include Design Build (including additions), Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling, and Exterior Home Remodeling.  Each division of our company has different staff, installers, and processes to ensure our homeowners receive the most competitive pricing, highest level of communication, and best quality workmanship possible.

How Much Do Remodels Cost

Asking how much remodels cost is almost like asking how to make an apple pie.  Think about it, there are thousands of recipes – just like there are thousands of different types of remodels.  Processes are different depending on what type of pie you bake – just like there are different process for different types of remodels (additions versus updates).  Additionally, there are thousands of people offering recipes for apple pie – similarly, there are thousands of contractors offering remodeling services.  So unfortunately, asking how much remodels cost has a lot of variables for you to reach an actual answer.

Tile Floor Looks Like Wood - Flooring Contractor San Marcos CA

San Diego Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen remodel costs will fluctuate depending on what type of materials you select, whether you keep the same floor plan, the size of your kitchen, and what type of contractor you select.  It is safe to say San Diego kitchen remodel estimates generally start around $25,000 and increase depending on your scope of work.  Plan on taking out a wall?  You won’t be paying the lower end of the spectrum.

Traditional Bathroom - Bathroom Remodel Rancho Bernardo

San Diego Bathroom Remodel

There are three different types of bathrooms.  Master bathrooms, Hall bathrooms, and Powder bathrooms.  The typical San Diego master bathroom remodel starts off around $15,000 to remodel while a hall bathroom starts around $10,000.  Powder bathrooms are near $8,000 to start.  Again, depending on the size of the bathroom, scope of work, and the type of contractor you select your pricing can vary widely.  Prices increase as you add cabinetry, change a tub to a shower, add or remove walls, and other scope changes that are outside of an “update only” scenario.

Traditional Dining Room - Rancho Bernardo Home Remodeling

San Diego Home Addition

It always amazes me when people ask for a cost per square footage estimate for their addition.  My typical response is anywhere from $125 per sq ft to $350 per sq ft.  Why the wide range?  Think about the different type of addition projects out there!  You can do a first floor addition, second floor addition, garage addition.  You can have a kitchenette or a bathroom within an addition or it could be just living space.  An addition with a bathroom on the first floor will be significantly less than the same addition on a second floor.  Add on the different finishes you can install and the options are practically endless.  So here is what we suggest, speak with a design builder and get an accurate estimate based on the design you are looking for.  It is the only way you will get even close to an accurate estimate on cost for your addition project.

Outdoor Firepit - Exterior Home Remodel San Diego

San Diego Exterior Remodels

I just sighed.  Really.  Are you aware of how many types of exterior remodels are available?  Roofing – well do you want to repair or replace, and what type of roof is it?  Windows – do you want to add new windows or replace windows?  Exterior paint – do you want a lifetime paint or a traditional paint?  Concrete – do you want stamped or decorative?  Deck – what type of material are you looking for?  I guess what I am trying to say is there are so many different types of San Diego exterior remodel projects available to homeowners that it is critical to narrow down exactly what you want to do before trying to guesstimate what the prices will be.

Most legitimate remodeling companies have a minimum purchases so if you have a maximum amount of money you want to spend, we highly recommend asking the contractor what their minimum purchase is prior to scheduling an appointment for a free estimate.  Some contractors (like us) offer financing so if that is something that does not scare you off, ask them if they offer financing as well!

Should I hire a contractor

If you are debating on whether or not to hire a contractor, it is safe to assume you have found a project around the house that you want to update.  Some projects may be a great fit for you if you are handy but maybe you don’t have the time.  Or perhaps you have the time but your spouse doesn’t feel like you are handy.

From a remodeling contractor’s perspective – this is when you should definitely hire a contractor:

When your project requires multiple trades

You might be handy, but would you feel comfortable remodeling your kitchen which includes setting tile, installing cabinets and baseboards, drywalling, texturing, painting, installing plumbing fixtures, adding electrical fixtures and running gas lines?    This is what we mean by multiple trades…..if you are not comfortable performing each of the trades required for your project, or you are not sure what the sequence order is for performing the remodel – you should hire a contractor.

When you do not understand the remodeling process

If you have to go online to research how to install a faucet, that is not a big deal and probably something you can handle on your own.  When you have to research online how to obtain permits, you should hire a contractor.

When you have a hard deadline

If you need to have your bathroom remodeled in time for the big holiday party you have planned, you may want to hire a contractor.  If you have never remodeled a bathroom then you will not have a good grasp on how long the process will take.  Working efficiently is key to getting a project completed in a timely manner.

When you do not have time

Acting as your own general contractor and hiring trades to come in and complete the remodel for you may sound like an easy task and a way to save money.  We caution you against this, specifically if you do not have a construction background (doing handyman work around the house does not count).  Also, if you do not have all day every day to spend on managing your project, we highly recommend you hire a contractor.  If you think finding and interviewing one contractor is time consuming, how long do you think it will take to find and interview 10 contractors for your major remodel?  Tack on purchasing your material, coordinating the schedule for the installers, and keeping track of payments to sub-contractors and you will have a full time job!

What kind of contractor should I hire?

Sometime the question really isn’t “should I hire a contractor”, but “what kind of contractor should I hire?”

There are different types of contractors and it is important you understand the difference before reaching out to get estimates.

Specialty Trade Contractors:

These are contractors whose licenses are specific to one trade.  For example, a plumber is not trained or licensed to do drywall work.  A roofer is not trained or licensed to do stucco work.  If you have a garbage disposal that is backed up or broken, you would call a plumbing contractor because that is their specialty trade – plumbing.  If you would like to upgrade your electrical panel, you would call an electrician.

General Contractors – Sole Ownership:

General contractors have been trained and have all the skills necessary to perform any home remodeling service.  This does not mean they should.  General contractors who self-perform all the work have the basic knowledge necessary to complete your remodel, but they are not specialized in any one specific trade.

General Contractors – Corporation:

General Contractors who are a corporation are more established and larger organizations than a sole ownership.  Corporations are responsible for hiring, firing, and coordinating subcontractors and their installation schedule.  Many times they offer design services (most sole ownership contractors do not offer this option).  They also coordinate delivery and installation of finish materials (many sole ownership general contractors require the homeowners to take on this task).  All liability for injuries and property damage are the responsibility of your contractor (this is true whether you work with a sole ownership contractor or a corporation contractor)

Once you decide what type of project you are trying to accomplish, take a good hard look at your schedule and your finances before deciding whether or not to tackle a remodeling project on your own.  If you decide you want to hire a contractor, take the time to make sure you reach out to the correct type of contractor for your specific remodeling project.

How to Find a Remodeling Contractor

As a remodeling contractor, it is important for us to know how potential customers go about finding a contractor for their home remodeling projects.  To find out,  we frequently ask homeowners how they found us.  Alternatively, if we lose a project (cant win ’em all!) to a competitor we will ask the homeowner how they found the contractor they did hire.  There are a few of the tried and true methods of finding a contractor, but we are surprised at some of the other methods people find their remodeling contractor and we thought we would share those with you (along with some possible pros and cons)

Family, Friends, and Neighbors (Referrals)

Personally, we love when we get a phone call from a homeowner saying they were referred to us by their family, neighbor, or friend.  A referral means we did a great job, our prices were reasonable, and they felt confident we would take care of the person they referred to us.  Is there a downside to hiring a referral? There are a lot of remodeling companies who fizz out after a few years in business so it is imperative to verify they are currently licensed, insured, and have positive current references. Sometimes we refer other remodeling contractors because a homeowner requests a project that is out of our scope but the first thing we say is “check their current license and insurance information on the CSLB website and always check out their reviews.”.

Better Business Bureau

There is an accreditation system that businesses have to go through to with the BBB.  Not all businesses are accredited so that is something to be aware of.  Accreditation means the remodeling contractor has proven to be in business for over 12 months.  The remodeling company has to prove they are properly licensed and insured.  The renovation company also has to have a full audit of their marketing materials to ensure the marketing material is ethical and within BBB standards (to prevent false advertising).   There are strict compliance factors that the renovation companies have to adhere to in order to maintain accreditation with the BBB and companies are audited yearly.  You can read more about the accreditation standards with the BBB, but we believe the BBB is a solid place to find a remodeling contractor.

Angie’s List

In the last few years, we have had a positive experience with Angie’s List and would recommend their services as a way to find a reputable contractor.  Here is what you need to know about Angie’s List.  Yes, contractors can pay to advertise with Angie’s List but the advertisements have nothing to do with the ratings you see for the company.  Advertisement costs that remodelers pay are for Pay-Per-Click type advertising and print advertising.  Only the highest rated contractors can advertise with Angie’s List (“B” rating and higher).

Angie’s List is diligent about verifying reviews that are submitted for companies are from actual clients of the company, which means you are seeing real reviews from real people.  Recently we have found some advertisements saying to purchase “HER” list.  As of August 2016, Angie’s List is free to the consumers.  Will this change our opinion of Angie’s List?  We don’t think so – as long as they continue to verify the reviews are from real clients.

Home Magazines

Oh my gosh, what to say about Home Magazines.  Are they a good way to find a remodeling contractor?  Sure.  There are tons of folks who advertise in print magazines (our company, included).  We want to advise you to be aware of what is called a “leader ad”.  Leader ads are meant to grab your attention.  “$5995 for a Kitchen Remodel!” Sounds great, right?  From a contractor’s point of view – absolutely unrealistic.  Leader ads are meant to get you to stop in your tracks and make a call.  Are they effective?  Of course.  Are they realistic?  Absolutely not.  It is kind of like when you are looking for a car and they advertise ONE car at that amazingly discounted rate, either the car doesn’t exist or it is a used car.  Look for the astrick (*) which will tell you what they are hiding in that big print that is meant to grab your attention.


I’m just going to come out and say it, I am not a Yelp fan (for the remodeling industry).  The problem with Yelp is there is no verification process of whether or not the person writing the review actually did the work with the remodeling company.

If you are going to use Yelp as a method of finding a contractor, or verifying their references/reviews – we HIGHLY suggest you take it with a grain of salt.  Don’t just look at the “stars” and move on.  Read what the person actually writes.  We have been given a 1 or 2 star because the customer could not afford our services, which has nothing to do with our remodeling services actually performed.

Another thing to look out for when using Yelp:   if you see a company who has dozens of reviews written day after day and they are all raving about the company, stop and think – how did they get that many reviews that quickly?  With no verification process, we have found companies frequently create their own reviews to pump up their ratings.

True story:  we had a review written on our page from someone who was trying to review a burger joint.  We alerted him and he tried to remove the review, but could not figure out how to remove it.  It was a great review, but it did not apply to our business.  So in closing, we highly recommend using a method OTHER THAN Yelp to find a professional remodeling contractor (and use Guild Quality to check out references for remodeling companies, rather than Yelp).

Internet Searches (google,yahoo, etc)

The internet is the method most often used by homeowners to find a remodeling contractor.  The internet is a great resource for finding remodeling contractors.  The only recommendation we have during an internet search is to be VERY wary of giving out your information on line, especially if it is not linked directly to the contractor you want to speak with.  If you have never done this before, here is what it looks like:  You enter your contact information online and within 5 minutes your phone is ringing off the hook.  Your will receive 3-5 calls per day for 2 weeks from contractors who have received your information online.

Home Advisor

Home Advisor is a method used by many remodeling contractors to get “leads” on homeowners who are looking to remodel their home.  Homeowners do not pay for this service, but contractors do.  So if you sign up to receive calls from contractors, you better believe your phone is going to be ringing!

The company does a great job of pre-qualifying contractors to make sure their license and insurance is current and valid.  Homeowners who use Home Advisor are given the opportunity to review the contractor upon completion of the projects, and unlike Yelp, the reviews are verified to be posted by actual clients.

Social Media

Social Media has been an up and coming way to find remodeling contractors.  You may see ads on your Facebook or Instagram feed which highlight local remodeling companies trying to earn your business.  Social Media is a great way to view a company from a different light.  Many remodeling contractors will share photos and videos of actual projects they have completed.  They may highlight their employees or events they participate in with the community.  In our opinion, Social Media is a great way to “get to know” a remodeling company before inviting them in to your home.  Be aware that Social Media does not require remodeling companies to verify their license or insurance so you will (always) need to check that on your own.

Home Shows and Street Fairs

Home Shows and Street Fairs are still a popular way to find a remodeling contractor in San Diego.  There are several events yearly through-out different cities within San Diego.  You will find a wide range of contractors at events such as these.  Home Shows are a great way to find new products but we have found that many Home Shows and Street Fairs have lead generators manning the booths which means you are not speaking with a contractor, but only a person who is there to gather contact information to schedule appointments.  That is not necessarily a bad thing, but be aware of who you are speaking with.  Ask them if they are an estimator, a designer, or if they are just trying to set appointments.  Be wary of giving out your information because if you give out your phone number, you will receive phone calls (imagine that!).


There are so many was to find a contractor for your remodeling project, hopefully you have found this list insightful (from a contractor’s perspective). As always, be sure to verify the contractor’s license, insurance, and referrals before signing any contracts.


How do I find out if my contractor is licensed?

If you are looking to do a remodel on your home, it is imperative you research your contractor to verify the validity of their license.  We have been in construction and remodeling for over 25 years and it is shocking to us the stories we have heard about contractor scams!  Educating our customers is a high priority for us and for that reason we want to share with you how to check the validity of a contractor and their associated license.


Step 1:

Go to

Step 2:

If you know the contractor’s license – you can enter it on the right hand side of the page.  Alternatively, if you do not know the contractor’s license, there is a link for you to do a search by company name or by the license holder’s name.

Step 3:

Review the Business Name to ensure it matches any information you have been given including website, contracts, and any marketing material (business cards, brochure, etc).  Some companies use a dba (doing business as) and in that case, the dba will be noted on the CSLB website.

Step 4:

Some contractors use a mailing address.  Others have their physical location noted on the CSLB website.  Find out if the address listed on the CLSB is a physical location or a mailing address.  Compare the address and phone number on the CSLB website to any marketing materials (contracts, business cards, brochures) given to you by the contractor.

Step 5:

Take note of whether the company is listed as a sole proprietor, LLC, or corporation.  Typically a sole proprietor is a “mom and pop” shop.  We are of the opinion that the most legitimate organizations are corporations.

Step 6:

Review the issue date, re-issue date, and expiration date.  You are checking to see if you feel comfortable with the length of time the company has been in business as well as when the license expires.

Step 7:

There is a section called License status.  You will want this to say “current and active”.  If it says anything other than that, you will want to question whether you want to pursue the relationship with this contractor.

Step 8:

Review the Classifications.  A “B General Contractor” is licensed for all trades in remodeling.  All other licenses are for specific trades (ie:  Electrical, framing, etc).  If you are working on a large remodel project, you will want to work with a “B General Contractor” because any other contractor is not qualified or licensed to do multiple trades.

Step 9:

Bonding information.  Verify all information is current and active.

Step 10:

Verify Workers Compensation is active and current

Step 11:

Personnel List.  In our minds, this is a BIGGIE!  Anyone who is in your home presenting you with an estimate for your home remodel is required to have a HIS card (or be the license holder for the company).  Sometimes it can take a while to get the names loaded on the website, but any person in your home should have an active HIS card (provided by the state of California) or should be the owner of the company. Do not be afraid to ask for this information – the HIS card is issued by the state after diligent background checks, this is a step that is taken to ensure your personal safety.

One way to find out if you are working with a legitimate contractor is to ask who you will be writing out checks to.  Is it the name of the company or the name of the person standing in front of you? A legitimate company will ALWAYS have you write out a check to the business name, not an individual.

There is very little recourse available if you hire an unlicensed contractor to do work on your home and they do poor quality work or break the contract.  Many times homeowners insurance will not cover any injuries or damage if the work was completed by an unlicensed contractor.  Additionally, if you are working with an unlicensed contractor you have no way of knowing if they have a criminal background.  Protect yourself and your home by doing your homework before hiring a contractor for your remodeling project!

Why Do Contractors Take So Long

Have you ever had a home remodel completed and wondered why the project took so long?  Or are you considering remodeling and are concerned about how long the project will take?  Most people only consider the time spent in the house doing the actual labor.  There is actually quite a bit that happens behind the scenes of a major remodel which you may be interested in learning about.


When a job is awarded, there is a lot of paperwork that has to take place.  Accounting files have to be compiled and entered into a database.  Pay schedules have to be entered into accounting software.  Folders are created and distributed to various team members which include details about the scope of work.


Measurements have to be taken of the existing space.  Detailed CAD drawings are drawn, which are used to tell the installers where, how high, and which direction to install the products which will be installed in your home.


Waiting for permits is never fun and can take several weeks sometimes, depending on the city.

Product Selection

Product selection has to be completed by the homeowner.  Once everything is ordered, the wait time begins for all the material to show up.  Most contractors will not start a project until all the material has been delivered to reduce the construction time spent in the home.

Purchasing Department

The purchasing department coordinates schedules to make sure installers are available to start and complete the project without stopping.

Internal Coordination Meetings

Your contractor will have several internal coordination meetings to ensure the project runs smoothly.  Accounting, purchasing, design, and project managers meet more than 3 times during your project.   They will discuss the scope of work and coordination of laborers, layouts and designs, and confirm all applicable permits and inspections have been received, as well as confirm all materials are ordered and received in the correct quantities.


Demo is actually pretty quick, we admit it.


The installation timeline depends on what the scope of work is in the home.  Tile will take longer to install than carpeting, for example.  Also, if you have a contractor who is using specialized trades in a small space, it may take a little longer to complete the installation because, for example, it can be difficult to have 2 installers in a small hall bathroom working on two projects at the same time (ie:  your electrician and plumber).   If it is a larger home remodel, it is easier (and quicker) to have multiple trades working throughout different areas of the home.


Inspections are scheduled by the city who performs them.  Your contractor does not have control over when they will show up.  Most times your contractor is given a 4 hour window that the inspector will show up.  In addition, some home remodel projects require several inspections.

“Pick up”

Pick up lists or customer service lists are created by the contractor and the homeowner towards the end of the project.  Pick up does not take long, but sometimes it can take homeowners a while to decide what they want touched up, if anything.

Just like any other industry, the remodeling industry has many steps, stages, and people involved.  You may be surprised to know that there can be up to 10 installers in your home during a remodel and behind the scenes are another 10 individuals working to make sure the project runs smoothly.  When you consider the coordination that takes place to make sure your remodel is completed quickly with quality workmanship, the process is pretty intriguing.

How to prepare for a kitchen remodel

Once your contractor has given you a “start” date or a “demo” date, it is important that you prepare yourself for construction.  Preparation comes in many forms.  First you will need to come up with an eating plan for the duration of your project.  Second, you will need to pack up and store your current kitchen so construction can take place.  Third, you have to prepare a temporary kitchen space.  Here are some tips for how to prepare for your kitchen remodel.

Decide what types of meals you are going to eat during your remodel

Chances are you will do a mix of the following eating plans.  It is easy to fall into a rut of eating out a lot during your remodel because it is “easier”, but it is not healthier and you would be surprised to know that after a few weeks of eating out, you will actually crave home cooked food!  Plan meals around small appliances:  microwave, toaster, or toaster-oven, slow cookers, electric griddles and skillets, hot plates, and coffee makers.

Eating In Options:  

  • Prepare meals and freeze them
  • Cook frozen meals in an electric oven
  • Cook in the crock pot
  • Cook using an electric skillet
  • BBQ on the weekends

Eating Out Options

  • Sit Down Restaurants
  • Fast Food Restaurants
  • Pizza (this can get old very quickly)
  • is a great way to order restaurant-style food and have it delivered to your house
  • Help coordinate a family or friend potluck at someone else’s house

Tips for packing up your kitchen

  • Set up a temporary kitchen before demolition of your existing kitchen
  • Keep items that might need to be unpacked (such as seasonings) in an area that is accessible.
  • Label your boxes!
  • Relocate throw rugs which are in the pathway to the kitchen
  • Secure objects such as wall-mounted china, photos, prints, or other breakable collectibles.  These items may fall away from the wall or shelf and break during construction because of vibrations of the tools.
  • Find a secure location to keep your mail (most people keep it in the kitchen and are upset when they lose bills because their routines are disturbed during their kitchen remodel).

Create a temporary kitchen station

  • Move your old refrigerator or a small mini-fridge to a convenient space close to a water source.  Add a table with a microwave and place a trash can below the table.
  • Keep a stash of non-perishable snacks such as soups, condiments, and cereal.
  • Stock up on microwaveable frozen dinners.
  • Keep essential items handy such as paper towels, garbage bags, dishcloths, dishwasher soap, paper cups and napkins, paper plates and utensils.
  • Coffee pot:  Don’t forget your coffee pods (or filters with coffee grounds), Coffee mugs, Sugar, Cream
  • Electric Oven:  Don’t forget your oven mitts
  • Electric Skillet:  Don’t forget your spatula, cooking spoons, tongs, oven mitts, pam cooking spray
  • Crock Pot:  Don’t forget your spatula, cooking Spoons, oven mitts, pam cooking spray
  • BBQ:  Don’t forget your cookie sheet, grilling utensils, basting tools

TIP:  Small appliances such as microwaves, toasters, toaster ovens, hot plates, crock pots, and small electric grills will be immensely helpful in preparing home-cooked meals.  Just remember, the area where you set up your temporary kitchen may not be able to support multiple appliances running at the same time, not to mention other electronic items typically used in that room.  You might need to have only one thing plugged in at a time to prevent tripping the circuit breakers.

Eating Tools

You will be without water in the kitchen for a few weeks so plan to do the dishes in another sink or a bathtub.  Or stock up on disposable plates and cups, paper towels, and disinfectant cleaners.  Even if you decide to use disposable eating utensils – there are a few items you will want to make sure you have set aside for your use.

  • Wine cork screw
  • Potato peeler
  • Can opener
  • Forks, Knives, Spoons, Steak Knives
  • Tongs
  • Spatulas
  • Scissors
  • Cutting Board
  • Plastic Sandwich Bags
  • Plastic Freezer Bags
  • Trash Bags
  • 3-5 Tupperware containers with lids
  • Plastic cups or real glasses, depending on what you prefer
  • Styrofoam coffee cups or real coffee mugs, depending on what you prefer

Cleaning Tools

  • Dish soap
  • Dish towels
  • Paper towels
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • House cleaners (many homeowners keep these under the kitchen sink.  You will want these cleaners for the rest of your house during your remodel)
  • Many homeowners keep their pet food under their kitchen sink – do not forget to set that aside for your 4 legged family members.

Other tips:

Your home will not be child-proofed during your remodel so explain to little ones where they can and can not go.

If you have pets you will need to restrict their access to the construction area, especially during work hours.  If it is difficult to keep work zones sealed off, or if your pets are easily frightened for upset by loud noises, consider finding a pet sitter or care-taking facility for them, at least during work hours.

Preparing your kitchen to get remodeled should not be too daunting of a task.  If you take a few days to prepare your space, you will find the organization will help you get through the remodel easier.  Using the tips above should help alleviate some of the stress of preparing and living through your remodel.






Best Remodeling Contractors in San Diego California

Classic Home Improvements meets with hundreds of homeowners a year offering free kitchen remodel, bathroom remodel, whole house remodeling, and room addition consultations. Consumers are often reminded by the California State Licensing Board to get competitive estimates when preparing for a home remodel project and for that reason, we are commonly asked who our competitors are.

We believe that an informed customer is the best type of customer.  We are not one to shy away from friendly competition and we believe in being transparent with our clients.  For that reason, we share who we believe to be the best remodeling contractors in San Diego.

  • Lars Remodeling and Design:  In 2016, when we last visited the website for Lars, we found their services were categorized as Whole house Remodeling, Outdoor Living Remodeling, Room Additions, Kitchen Remodels, Bathroom Remodels, Design-Build Remodeling, Custom Home Builders, and General Contractor.  Classic Home Improvements considers them friendly competition in all categories excluding custom home building, which we do not offer as of yet.
  • Jackson Design and Remodeling:  When we last viewed their website, Jackson expressed their specialties as a design build contractor offering kitchen remodeling, bathroom, remodeling, and whole-home design services.
  • Murray Lampert:  According to their website, this company specializes in architectural design, residential second story additions, single story expansions, room additions, kitchen remodels, bath remodels, and total home remodeling.  When last researched by Classic Home Improvements, their license was active and their reviews were quite solid.

So there you have it.  A few remodel companies we consider to have healthy competition with.   Each of these competitors have (as of 2016) a great reputation as far as we can tell, beautiful images of completed projects, and are appear to be client-focused.  As always, we recommend verifying all licenses and insurance are current on the California State Licensing Board and verifying reviews on your own.

Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a home renovation contractor and is located in Escondido, Ca and offers kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, outdoor living remodeling, and room additions to homeowners in San Diego, CA as well as Temecula, CA.

10 Ways Homeowners Can Avoid Remodeling Delays

We have all heard horror stories about a contractor who took too long to complete a project. You know the story, the one where the contractor swore the project could be completed in 5 days but it really took over 3 months to be completed.  Remodeling projects slipping over their projected completion date is a common remodeling problem, and one that can be avoided.

How do you avoid these types of miss-communications?  Where is the breakdown?  Why is it so hard to nail down a completion date on a remodel?  Would you be surprised to know you, as the homeowner, have a lot to do with how quickly a job progresses?!  Here are some ways you can be sure to help move the project along so the project is completed on time.

  1. Establish communication with the right person

    We all know good communication is key to any relationship, but why does it affect completion dates?   Construction is complex and involves many parties including the homeowner, designers, regulators (city for approvals), subcontractors or employees, and consultants.  If one party is not communicating with another, a break-down ensues.  For the purpose of this post, we encourage an open line of communication with your sole point-of-contact.  When you sign your contract, ask your contractor to be very clear who that point of contact is.

    Here is an example for you from a construction point of view:  If you talk to the framer and ask him to change a size of the niche for your new shower, he may say “sure, fine”.  If the framer does not tell your sole point of contact (usually a project superintendent), then the tile installer may not know about the change which means  you will be short on bull-nose.  If you have an insert tile or a special order tile, this will delay your project while you wait for the extra material to come in.  Construction is similar to a production line in manufacturing. Make one change in the front of the line without telling the next person in the line and all of a sudden your project (and its timeline) starts falling apart.

  2. Record questions

    Being informed about processes, procedures, and different products is all great.   What is not great is stopping workers several times a day to answer questions or discuss scope of work changes.  If you are a person who likes to do a ton of research, we suggest having a pad of paper and writing down your questions, concerns, etc to review with your point of contact.  As a remodeling contractor, we are often told by workers that homeowners come in frequently to ask questions about a process.  As a worker, and a human, we look for distractions, especially when doing repetitive work (field workers in construction face incredibly repetitive tasks).  So a simple question can turn into a 30 minute conversation, plus the time it takes to get his or her brain re-focused on the original task at hand.

    For each moment a worker is explaining a process to you, he or she is not completing the task at hand.  This goes back to making sure you are discussing questions with your point of contact.  Your point of contact should be answering any questions or concerns you may have.  Additionally, many times the worker does not have all the answers because he or she does not see the overall project, just the piece that is currently being worked on.

  3. Do not delay on selecting products

    Once you have selected your contractor everything starts moving relatively quickly.  Or at least, it should.  After your contractor has taken measurements of the space to remodeled it will be your responsibility as the homeowner to select the products to be installed.  This sounds easier than it is, we know.  Remember that in construction one decision affects several other decisions.  This means cabinets can not be ordered for a kitchen remodel until appliances have been selected because the measurements of the appliances affect the remaining space available for cabinets.  Countertops can not be fabricated until you have selected your sink.  Electrical wires can not be installed until you have selected your lighting.

    Make a day of it, make a weekend of it, but make it a priority to order your products as soon as  you have the green light from your contractor.  Need help?  Ask your contractor for assistance.  If you have hired a design build company to remodel your house, chances are you will have assistance in navigating the scary place which is product selection.

  1. Select products without a long back-order

    For the sake of everyone’s sanity, please pay attention to whether or not the item you are ordering is in stock!  How could a contractor possibly have a completion date which you both agreed on if the finish product will take 4 weeks longer than the anticipated completion date?  Are you ordering tile with a long back-order?  If for some unfortunate reason the tile measurements are “off” (or tile gets broken during installation, which can happen), if you have ordered custom tile or tile that is back-ordered, this will delay the completion of your project.  If there is a kitchen faucet or a lighting fixture you simply can not live without which has a long back-order make sure you discuss this with your point of contact so you can understand how that decision will affect your anticipated completion date.

  1. Be decisive

    Be confident in your decisions.  What do we mean by that?  Your design.  Once you have signed your contract and signed off on your final design, stop looking on the internet for additional ideas….we know, its temping.  Don’t do it.  Revising your design will not only affect your completion date, but it may very well affect your project price (which is another concern for homeowners who remodel).  Prices should not fluctuate once you have signed your contract.  The only three things that could possibly affect your pricing if you are working with a reputable contractor are (1) design and scope of work changes requested by the homeowner after the initial contract is signed and (2) unforeseen construction problems (such as finding mold when your contractor does his demo work, (3) unforeseen scope of work changes required by a city official (ie:  during permits or inspections).

  2. Do not add changes to your scope of work

    Again, be confident in your decisions and do not search the internet for additional ideas once you have signed off on your project drawings.  If you make changes to the scope of work once the final drawings have been approved the engine on your remodel has to stop or at minimum slow down.  What do we mean by that?  Here is an example:  You decide after you have ordered your kitchen cabinets that you would like to have a wine cabinet installed.  The wine cabinet affects cabinetry, countertops, and electrical trades.  New drawings have to be made, cabinet orders change, and once all those changes are made you will need to sign new drawings and a new material order takes place.  That one change could cost you a day or a week.  Either way, it is a delay.  Some homeowners are willing to cause a delay because of a “must have” item.  Just understand the delay is not due to your contractor, it is due to a change of scope of work.

  3. Have your home prepared for the project to start

    Having your home prepared for the project to start means just that.  Are you remodeling a kitchen?  Make sure your cabinets are 100% empty and packed away somewhere safe. Remodeling your bathroom?  Take everything off the walls, clean out the cabinets, clean out the toilet, and make sure the hallways are cleared for workers to have a safe traffic area. Once the project has started, stay clear out of the area.  Do not pack boxes in the space.  Any time the workers have to spend removing your items from the work space means they are not working on the remodel.   If you are not sure how to prepare for your remodel, reach out to your point of contact for guidance.

  4. Allow access to the home

    This seems to be a key item we need to discuss.  When you are having your home remodeled, it is important your contractor has access to the home during regular business work hours.  Some homeowners want to be home when the work is being completed.  If you want to manage the schedule by dictating when the workers can start, stop, and what days they can work, I promise you your schedule will be compromised.  Contractors will generally ask to have a lock-box with a special code allowing them to enter and exit your home while keeping the contents of your home safe.  If you trusted your contractor to remodel your home, it is imperative you trust them to have access to it when you are not home.  Not allowing access to the home during regular business hours is a key to keeping your project timeline on course.

  5. Avoid micro-managing your project

    Let me ask you this:  When you take your car to the mechanic, what happens?  You explain what is wrong, the mechanic takes a look, explains what the price will be and you leave until the work is complete.  Right?  The same is with your remodel.  You have hired your contractor because he or she is the professional, trained specifically in construction and remodeling.

    The construction process is complex.  To the untrained eye, you may believe something is missing if you see an electrical wire hanging loosely or a baseboard that is unpainted when all the others are already painted.  What you don’t see is the reason for why that part was left “unfinished”.  If we can offer one of the biggest piece of advise it is – understand that the remodel is not complete until your contractor says it is complete.  This means that if you see something you are concerned about – make note of it.  If it is still a problem when your contractor says the work is complete, bring it up during your final walk through.

    Every contractor should offer a final walk through before asking for a final payment.  This is the time to bring up any unfinished work or any workmanship details that may concern you.  This does not mean if you see an electrical outlet on the wrong wall that you do not bring it up.  That is an obvious miss-step during the remodel and one that the contractor should by all means catch before you do.

  6. Be available

    If there was one thing we could say to help a homeowner help their contractor complete their job on time it is – be available!  When your contractor calls you and needs you to make a decision, consider it a high priority.  When it is time to do a job walk with your contractor, make sure you are available.  It may be that the longer you delay the job walk, the longer the job sits because a decision needs to be made.  When it is time to select your product, don’t wait for the weekend you are free – make the time to make it happen.  Be available and be present (ie:  avoid distractions) when meeting with your contractor.

Remodeling your home is a team effort.  Once you have selected a contractor – you have essentially invited a new partner into your personal space for 3 weeks to a year, depending on the size of your project.  Nurture the relationship.  Communicate, be accessible, and be confident you have made the right choices from the moment you selected your team-mate.


Classic Home Improvements

Classic Home Improvements is a licensed general contracting company specializing in home remodels in San Diego, Ca and Temecula, Ca.  This company offers design services as well as remodeling services.  Their office is located in Escondido, Ca and has a kitchen and bath showroom which is available by appointment only to homeowners looking complete a kitchen remodel, bathroom remodel, or whole house remodel as well as home addition projects.