Most of you guys have been following along and know that we are in the midst of a DIY Cash 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 professional contractor!
Meet Dave of D. Michael Designs. He is a professional contractor 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 space where the I-beam ideally needed to be loaded in. We had Dave and his team just tear out the entire front of the house for us (man they work so much faster than us LOL). This made bringing the 1600 lb steel I-beam indoors and installing it easier + it allowed them to reframe everything to accommodate the new entry. This saved us time, money, and stress!
When to Hire a Professional Contractor
How I Found My Professional Contractor: I 1st met with Dave nearly 6 months before we did the project. 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 that they can really show you (sketchy phone photos from who knows where & when don't count)
- Must be registered with your city and fully licensed with insurance (check with your local city for requirements)
- The POC or Boss must have good communication (this avoids future problems)
- Must have 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. This is my 1st ever timelapse so don't laugh. 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.
- 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.
- Don't expect perfection in the process! I have found myself freaking out when things look terrible midway through the process only to find they look beautiful in the end. Building is messy.
- 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.
- Cover all furniture or remove from your 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.
- 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!
- 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 worked a couple of 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. Since this is a DIY, cash remodel, it's slow going but check out my Insta to see what we are up to next.