How to Do a Gut Remodel and Live to Tell the Tale


gutting a house and remodeling st. louisWhy do people do a gut remodel? Why not just tear the whole house down and start over? Because gutting and doing a whole house renovation may simply be the better option.

Demolition is not always the answer to revitalizing a house that needs significant remodeling. Historical homes and those with beautiful, structurally sound bones are good candidates for a gut remodel. Here are three reasons it makes sense to gut your home instead of tearing it down.

  1. You want an entirely new interior. This includes removing floors, walls, HVAC components, insulation, plumbing, and a whole lot more. Everything goes. An upside to stripping an interior bare is that your contractor can easily identify pre-existing issues that you never knew about.
  2. You love the exterior and it’s in good shape. If your house has a healthy exterior, why spend the extra money on materials and labor to start over? During demolition, you may also discover materials, such as flooring, that can be repurposed.
  3. New homes cost more. Scrapping perfectly good materials to build a home with all new ones doesn’t make fiscal sense. If the house is sturdy, it will cost you less to gut remodel than to build new.

In other words, you have a lot of good reasons for gutting your house a remodeling it – from a structural point of view. But what about from a personal point of view? It isn’t easy to survive a full house remodel, but we’re here to walk you through how to do just that.

Should You Stay, or Should You Go?

Not surprisingly, at J.T. McDermott Remodeling, we recommend moving out during a gut remodel. Not only does it speed up the process, it protects your family from some pretty nasty stuff. Construction work frequently stirs up old toxins like lead and asbestos – and brings new ones into your home. The perfect way to reduce your exposure is by moving out.

gutting a house and remodeling st. louis

If that’s not an option, there are ways to lessen the impact the remodel has on your family’s life. Here’s how to determine if staying or going is the right choice.

  • Does your budget allow for it? Before settling on a budget and design, get an estimate of what it would cost for an extended stay hotel or short-term apartment rental. Can you schedule a vacation in there somewhere?
  • Do you have another housing option? Do you have a separate apartment or guest house that would work as temporary lodging? Does one of your friends or relatives have the extra space?
  • Do you prefer to be on site to oversee the process? If so, it may be worth it for you to find a way to make staying put viable.

Finding Common Ground

Before you even contact us to talk about a gut remodel, it’s important that everyone is on the same page. While we’re ready, willing, and able to help you with areas you have questions or misalignments on, you and your partner should be on par with what’s most important to the two of you.

Budgetary Concerns

No surprise that the most common area of conflict during a remodel is about money. A shared budget and vision that’s based on agreed-upon priorities is what’s most important. Everything else about the remodeling process flows from that. For example, what is the most important room? Do you want a high-end kitchen or a luxurious master bath? What is the size of your family? Are you planning on more children or having the in-laws move in at some point?

You want to put your dollars in the right places so think about what it is you both can’t live with out and what you’re willing to sacrifice. If it comes down to it, splurge on structural features. Fixtures and other details can always be added later.

Talking it Through

Be open to trade-offs. Is it truly worth arguing over eggshell and greige or oil-rubbed bronze and polished nickel? Will the finished space be just as beautiful no matter which is used? Good communication and a willingness to compromise will go a long way in making a gut remodel a smooth and stress-free process.

If you both work long days, don’t try to make major decisions over or after dinner. Instead, schedule a time when you’re both relaxed and can sit down and calmly discuss the project’s progress, questions, or concerns you might have.

Finally, prepare yourself for a lengthy planning process. Embrace the journey and remember why you started the project in the first place. Rushing through a gut remodel leads to regrets down the road and your future selves will not be happy if you don’t remain present and let the process unfold.

Learn More

To learn more about whole house remodel costs or to discuss any remodeling project you have in mind, drop us a line today. We look forward to meeting with you!

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