Most of you guys have been following along and know that we are in the midst of a DIY remodel. We have learned so much and we have had so much fun discovering how to fix, build, and change things in our home. But one of the more important things we are learning is when to hire a pro.

Meet Dave of D. Michael Designs. He is based in San Antonio, TX and covers San Antonio up to Austin and all the surrounding areas. We hired Dave to take over and instruct us on how to install a 20′ I-Beam to support a load bearing wall that runs between 2 living rooms downstairs and relocate our Front Door on our home. Did I mention that this 1 wall holds the entire 2nd story up in our home? Yep! This my friends, is NOT a DIY project.

Since we wanted to relocate the front door to the space where the I beam needed to be loaded in. We had Dave and his team just tear out the entire front of the house. This made bringing the 1600 lb beam indoors and installing it easier + it allowed them to reframe everything to accommodate the new door. This saved both time and money!

When to Hire a Pro

How I Found D. Michael Designs: I, Samantha, 1st met with Dave nearly 6 months before we did the project. He gave me an estimate and I started saving my money. I interviewed several people and narrowed it down to 3, in the end I hired Dave because he was knowledgeable with a good portfolio, fast communication and he was the middle of the road in pricing (not the cheapest and not the most expensive). The cheapest bid was just a couple grand and the most expensive was $24,000. I used sites like Houzz and basic Google searches to find pros.

Tips to Hiring a Pro: You guys will find there are lots of “pros” out there so here are my tips to find the real deals.

  • They must have a strong portfolio
  • Must be registered with the city and fully licensed with insurance (check with your local city for requirements)
  • The POC or Boss must have good communication
  • Must have a reasonable expectations in their contract and payment plan (never ever pay before the work is completed)

D. Michael Designs had all the above from the very beginning. They showed up on time every morning (which is rare in contractors) and communicated effectively throughout the process. When we hit a problem, they were quick to work on a solution and implement it. If you want to see more of their work check them out on Instagram, they just joined @dmichaeldesign1 Give their page a Follow and start to watch his work. HINT – if you click the last hashtag he puts up with the Project Name, you can scroll through all the work he has done for that home. I am #whisperhillhouse

Check out this Time Lapse we Made of the 1600 lb Beam Being Installed

We took 14 days of work and captured it in 47 seconds for you. Demo, Beam Installation, New Front Door & Window installation, Sheetrock, Tape, Float and Texturing are covered here. Another post with DIY painting, decorating and flooring coming soon.

Tips for Home Owners: Here are a few tips I personally would give you as a Home Owner Hiring a Contractor.

  1. Communication is key! Draw pictures of what your vision looks like. Create a Pinterest board. Be able to show what you like and dislike. Check out my sketch below.
  2. Don't expect perfection in the process! I have found myself freaking out when things look terrible mid way through the process only to find they look beautiful in the end. Building is messy.
  3. Ask questions! Don't sit on your hands and fret. If you don't understand something or need clarity, just ask. These guys are professionals and can explain the process.
  4. Cover all furniture or remove from home! Remodeling is very messy, very dusty, very everywhere LOL. I wish I would have removed more items because I'm going to be finding dust for months.
  5. Remember these are humans too! Kindness is repaid with kindness. So communicate kindly! Request kindly! Even if something goes wrong (and it will, this is construction yall) point it out kindly! These are just humans trying to make a living. I always offer to buy everyone lunch at least once and I offer snacks and drinks during the day!
  6. Never pay in advance! Dave has the perfect set up, I paid him a portion to start the remodel on the morning he arrived. They work a couple days and completed stage 1. Once I gave it my approval I cut him another check. We repeated this through completion.

Before & After Photos of a Load Bearing Wall Removal

Thanks for hanging with us. This project is a constant work in progress so feel free to follow along. We will post on social media when the final room releases with paint, floors, the I-beam wrapped, furniture in place, etc. Go HERE to see the 1st rooms we completed exactly 1 year ago. If you are on Instagram or Facebook we share a lot of the Behind the Scenes in stories. IG has saved stories with How to Lay Your Own Floors and Tips and Tricks, follow along here.


More San Antonio Remodeling Projects here:

Load Bearing Wall Removal - Steel Beam Installation

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