Central Texas - Frequently Asked Questions
FAQs to Help Make Your Remodeling Dreams Come True
To help you make the best decision for your remodel, see our FAQs below from many of our existing clients. If you have a question that you don’t see below, give us a call today. We look forward to starting the conversation.
My house was built before 1978. Do I have to worry about lead paint?
The federal government outlawed lead in residential paint in 1978. Homes built prior to that could theoretically have lead paint, but by the 1950s and 1960s, manufacturers were phasing it out anyway. By law, we are required to check for the presence of lead paint on surfaces that we are removing in any home built before 1978. This is generally done at the pre-production meeting or at the start of the job. If lead is found, DreamMaker and its staff are certified to safely remove this material from the home.
How can I create more storage?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Install cabinetry/ shelving above the toilet or in place of a towel rack for added storage.
- Replace an existing vanity with drawers instead of cabinets
- Install cubbyholes near the bathtub for rolled-up towels or toiletries.
- Freestanding storage with tiered levels is a great addition of storage for any room.
How does DreamMaker’s 3-year warranty work?
With DreamMaker, you have the peace of mind knowing that we stand behind our work. If, in the first three years after the completion of your project, any issues arise, call our office and your issue will be logged in our warranty database. A DreamMaker representative will contact you to set up a time to take care of the problem.
When is final payment expected?
When a project is finished, we have several internal quality control inspections that must be completed. Once these have passed and all contractual work is completed, your designer will schedule a time to walk through your project, take photos, and fill out final paperwork. Final payment and payment for any remaining change orders are expected at this time. Small items that do not prevent complete use of the new space, such as the replacement of a warped cabinet door, for example, do not generally hold up this process. Any such items will be clearly documented as an outstanding warranty at this time and will be addressed as soon as the replacement parts are available.
Who do I contact during the construction process with question or concerns?
At the pre-production meeting, you will be provided with contact information related to any production and scheduling concerns or questions. We will be available to you every step of the way, and you can always contact us with questions (or to rave about how well things are going)!
How do you handle debris removal from our home?
We remove all project debris from your home daily. To avoid the risk of damage to driveways and landscaping, we do not generally drop dumpsters on-site. However, for extremely large projects, we may need to have one on-site. When an on-site dumpster is necessary, every precaution will be taken to protect your property, and its timeframe will likely be limited to the demolition phase of the project.
How can you keep dust and dirt out of my home?
Unfortunately, remodeling is an inherently dirty process. Many of the processes involved in remodeling create a fine dust that can be hard to contain. We will make every effort to keep dust from migrating to the rest of your home but of course, can’t promise that there won’t be any. Precautions we use include:
- Floor protection from our point of entry to the work area
- Dust walls partitioning the work area from the rest of the house when possible
- The use of negative pressure airflow, when practical, to keep dust where it belongs.
How does your staff handle bathroom usage while working in my home?
This is up to you, but most of our clients prefer to designate a bathroom in the home for our staff to use. Every attempt will be made to keep the space tidy and clean. If you are not comfortable with this, we can provide a portable toilet for our staff to use outside the home.
Who will be in my home conducting the work?
All work in your home will be conducted by DreamMaker employees or our regular trade partners. One of our experienced Lead Carpenters will be assigned to your project. Your Lead Carpenter will manage the project on site, conduct much of the work, and is responsible for the safety and security of your home. Other DreamMaker staff will assist as necessary. Your Lead Carpenter will also directly manage any trade partners that work in the home, such as our plumber and electricians. All DreamMaker employees undergo extensive background checks prior to hiring.
Are permits required for my project and how are they handled?
DreamMaker follows all current codes regarding permits. Not all projects require building permits. This depends on the scope of work, but also on the municipality in which you live. Each city/township/county has its own unique policies. Our production staff is well versed in what each building department looks for and will handle all permits and inspections as required.
Do I need to be home while work is being done in my house?
This is entirely up to you -- our policy is whatever you are comfortable with. Some clients want to be there at all times, and others want to be out of the country! From experience, we have seen that the process is less stressful for clients that don’t feel they have to be there all the time.
Do you work on weekends?
Our work is conducted Monday through Friday.
How long will my project take?
Once a design is complete, we will know exactly how long your project should take. Your designer can share this information with you. More often than not, we finish before the planned timeline. However, despite our best efforts in planning and execution, small issues can and do arise so we may not have your project completed within the planned timeline. Rest assured that every effort will be made to complete your project as close to the planned timeline as possible, so that you can use and love your new space as quickly as you can!
We are planning to remodel our only bathroom. Can we use it at night during the project?
When remodeling a bathroom in a home that has only one bath, we are usually able to keep the toilet operational at night through most of the project. If the bath has a tile floor, there may be a night or two where this is not possible. Reinstalling and removing the toilet multiple times may incur some additional costs, but it will be built into the project cost and planned for ahead of time. Sinks and tubs/showers are more difficult as they are not usable until near the completion of the project. Talk to your designer about making other plans for such a situation.
Can we have a temporary sink installed in our kitchen while the countertop is being made?
We don’t generally need to do this, as the delay is only a matter of a week or so at most, and the appliances aren’t installed anyway. However, if the countertop has an unusually long lead time, whether planned or unplanned, we can install a temporary top and sink for you to use in the meantime.
How long will it take to have my kitchen countertop made?
We work with several different countertop fabricators for different products, so there may be some variation from the time the digital template is made to the day the counter is installed. Depending on the length of the job and the scope of work, we may have everything else completed prior to this, so there may be a wait for the countertop installation. After the countertop is installed, we can complete final items, such as the installation of appliances, etc. This process can also apply to more complex bathroom vanity tops. Ask your designer how the countertop in your project will be manufactured.
Can I set up a temporary kitchen while my kitchen remodel is in progress?
We recommend doing this. Moving the refrigerator and microwave to the living room, for example, along with a table for some preparation space, can make things a lot easier. We can plan for this when we meet for the pre-production meeting in your home, if you like.
Is it better to have a separate cooktop and oven or one integral unit?
It depends on what is best for your kitchen layout. The two are separate units and can be installed in different locations. If space allows, it is typically better to have them separated for convenience while cooking.
What are the pros and cons of electric versus gas cooktops and ovens?
It is generally agreed upon that electric ovens and gas cooktops are the best options. Gas cooktops allow for immediate heat change however, electric heat tends to be more accurate and typically easier to clean. When shopping for ovens it is best to look for convenience features, such as self-cleaning (not continuous cleaning as this is less efficient).
Is resurfacing cabinets a good option?
If you have relatively new cabinets but want to upgrade the finish or style, resurfacing is the best option. However, remember to keep in mind that if you plan on changing the floorplan by moving cabinets it may not be as lucrative as simply purchasing new cabinets.
What sets DreamMaker apart from other respected remodelers in my area?
There are a lot of great contractors out there. We strive to create a customized design and a simple remodeling process to create a space that truly enhances your life.
Do you offer design services?
Yes, we offer design services. You will have a dedicated designer to help you realize what your space will look like before you sign a contract. Additionally, your DreamMaker designer will walk you through every product selection decision to help you choose exactly what you want.
What are all the services you all offer?
Services vary by location, but may include:
- Crown molding
- Installing luxury heating systems for your bathroom floors and countertops
- Installing designer cabinet hardware
- Providing products such as towel warmers, ergonomic floor mats and more
What is your remodeling process?
- Meet with a Dreammaker designer - Our clients tell us the best place to start is in our design center. At our first design center meeting, a DreamMaker designer will listen carefully and discuss your goals so your remodeling dreams are incorporated into your new space. We look forward to you sharing photos of your existing space and encourage you to bring any sketches or inspiration that you have gathered with you. After this meeting, we will schedule your home survey and design review meeting.
- Home Survey - Our DreamMaker designer will come to your home and complete a survey which includes taking measurements, photos and looking for any structural, plumbing or electrical issues that may need to be resolved or incorporated into the design. The more information your DreamMaker representative has, the more detailed and precise your initial estimate is going to be. Once your home survey is complete a DreamMaker representative will set the next meeting.
- Design Review & Written Proposal - During this phase, we will review the designs we have crafted for you and together, land on a final design that includes every aspect of your dream remodel. As we present designs, you should also expect a few proposal options to match the designs to give you a more focused lens on what your desired remodel will cost.
- Sign Agreement - For us, a detailed contract sets the tone for excellent communication and clearly maps our expectations of the project. Your agreement will include the exact week we’ll start your project, how many days we expect the work to take and all of the drawings and documents. We are serious about delivering on our promises.
Will you start on my project as soon as I sign the contract?
We will not start work in your home until all your products are delivered to us to minimize the disruption in your home.
Is site clean-up part of your services?
Yes. We clean up the remodeling space each day before we leave. It’s your home and we are dedicated to protecting it.
What steps will you take to protect my home?
We use floor protection to cover the walkthrough areas from the entry door and the remodeling space. In addition, we use dust protection to get the air as clean as possible for you and your pets. We can’t guarantee to protect 100% from dust, but we strive to keep your home very dust free. It’s your home and we are dedicated to protecting it.
Will I have a dedicated point of contact?
Yes, You will have a dedicated designer who will design your space in software so you can envision it before you ever sign a contract. In addition, you will have a dedicated point of contact during the construction phase. And not to worry - our designers and lead carpenters work closely together to ensure you are taken care of.
What questions should I ask my remodeler/contractor?
- How much experience do you have with this type of work?
- Do you have a contractor license?
- Are you comfortable providing a list of past clients?
- What is a realistic timeline for this project?
- Who will purchase the materials?
- What is the payment schedule?
- Tell me about your after-service support.
- Do you provide detailed contracts?
- What kind of insurance policy do you have?
- Do you hire sub-contractors?
Do you all sell kitchen cabinets?
Yes, we do sell kitchen cabinets. Most of our clients end up purchasing kitchen cabinets from us so we can install them.
What is the difference between Granite, Quartz and Marble?
- Granite is one of the most common and preferred countertop materials because it's solid, durable and stain-resistant. It can withstand heat associated with cooking or serving food and doesn't show watermarks. It's difficult to break, crack or scratch with normal wear and tear. Granite is available in a wide variety of colors. However, because it's a natural stone, there are limited color options when compared to color-enhanced quartz varieties. Granite is the best option if you want low-maintenance countertops that don't fade or discolor over time and aren't sensitive to cleaning chemicals. Be prepared to add occasional sealants to ensure its luster and longevity.
- Quartz countertops have many of the same benefits as granite, except they aren't entirely natural. Quartz countertops are made from 93 percent crushed quartz and 7 percent resin, with added dyes for coloration. Quartz is the best option if you want a nonporous option that requires zero upkeep and never requires topcoat applications. The composition of quartz is relatively uniform, so it doesn't have as many natural grains, flecks or veins as granite or marble.
- Marble is the most porous of the three and is especially sensitive to acidic liquids and potent chemical cleaners. A high-grade sealant is necessary to protect the surface and is often suggested by manufacturers. Marble countertops are the best option if you want a design with the most unique veining and natural modeling. Keep in mind that marble tends to darken over time.
What are the different countertop options you carry?
Most common are Granite, Quartz and Marble. We can typically source any countertop product if you have a particular surface or brand in mind.
What brand of cabinets do you carry?
Showplace Cabinetry and Wolf Cabinetry are the most popular cabinet brands we offer. If there is one you had in mind, please let us know and we should be able to source it for you.
Are estimates free?
We provide price ranges after we get a sense of what you are looking to accomplish. These ranges are typically based on past projects similar to yours. DreamMaker works hard to create your dream space within your desired budget. When clients share their desired budget, we are able to show them what is possible with DreamMaker.
What is the timeframe of a renovation?
The timeframe of a renovation depends upon what type of remodeling project you are pursuing. We offer cosmetic remodeling services such as cabinet refacing or replacing cabinet vanities and toilets. We offer pull and replace remodeling services such as pulling out your existing cabinets and installing new cabinetry in the same place. Lastly, we offer design/build or custom remodeling such as taking down walls to reconfigure full spaces. With these broad ranges, your remodel will take anywhere from 3-8 weeks typically. We will not start work in your home until all your product is delivered to us to minimize the disruption in your home.
What is the price range for a bathroom remodel?
The price for a bathroom remodel depends upon your space's existing condition, the products you decide to choose and the layout you prefer to create your dream space. We recommend scheduling a 45-minute appointment in the design center to talk these items through. Not to worry - we aren’t salesy. It’s just an opportunity for us to get to know each other and better realize what you are looking to do. Once we have a better idea of what you are wanting, we can show you price ranges so you can get a feel of what you want will cost with DreamMaker.
How much does a typical kitchen remodel cost in my area?
The price for a kitchen remodel depends upon your space's existing condition, the products you decide to choose and the layout you prefer to create your dream space. We recommend scheduling a 45-minute appointment in the design center to talk these items through. Once we have a better idea of what you are wanting, we can show you price ranges so you can get a feel of what you want will cost with DreamMaker.
What is the best way to clean and maintain the finish on new wood cabinets and floors?
Your cleaning methods will vary depending on your wood finish. Make sure to check with the product manufacturer, dealer or installer. Most factory cabinets currently use a conversion varnish finish. In this case, occasional polishing is an excellent way to clean off dirt and create a lasting shine. Avoid using waxes because their regular use may result in a buildup of a wax film on the surface. In general, preventive maintenance is vital for long-term performance and beauty of wood cabinets and floors.
What exactly is a universally designed/universally friendly home?
Universal design assists with long-term use and accessibility for all, including young, old, mobility impaired or those living without impairments. Many homeowners are beginning to see the benefits of this type of quality living that allows for conveniences that will serve them now and in the future. Universal designed homes are part of an evolving movement away from aesthetic concerns, moving toward an increasing desire for style and functionality throughout the home. Also, in many cases, universal design features have also been shown to raise home value and resale desirability.
What are some things I can do to make my home more universally friendly?
Here are some examples of ways to improve accessibility and comfort in all areas of the home:
- One entrance without steps to the main floor of the house
- One bedroom on the main floor
- Wide interior doors – 34” minimum
- One full bath on the main floor with ample maneuvering space
- Lever hardware on all doors
- Electrical outlets placed higher on the wall
- Light switches reachable from a seated position (36 – 44 inches from the floor)
- “Rocker”(touch) style light switches
- Adjustable closet rods and shelves
- Stair handrails on both sides of the stairs
- Kitchen countertops of varying heights for use sitting or standing
- Lever controls on the faucet at sinks
- Sinks with open space below to allow use while sitting
- Kitchen base cabinets with pull-out shelves or “lazy-susan” type revolving shelves
- Front loading dishwasher, raised from floor
- Adjustable shelves in kitchen wall cabinets
- Hand-held shower head in bath
- Grab bars in the tub/shower
- Shower stall with a minimum of 3x5 floor space
- Raised toilet (seat 17-19 inches from the floor)
Is there such a thing as too many kitchen and bath improvements?
Yes, too many improvements can actually hinder the functionality of any kitchen or bath and may, in fact, actually turn the space into a complicated, non-user friendly area. The design aspect is also negatively affected. You need to determine what your purpose is for remodeling the space.
- Evaluate your current space
- What is the function in which you would like to utilize this space?
- What works? What doesn’t?
- What do you like and dislike about this space?
- Prioritizing is a necessity
- You are ultimately the one who needs to decide what you actually want in your space, the remodeler can only make suggestions
- What items do you need and what are the ones you just wish you could have?
- Make sure you convey all of these things to your remodeling professional for a successful project that you’re happy with
My home is fairly small and some of the rooms are hard to work with. How do I effectively maximize all available space?
You need to take a look at the size of the room you are remodeling, your budget, and then have a professional create an appropriate design that will meet your needs for additional space.
Below are some options to think about:
- Change out the cabinetry and countertops to make kitchen space more versatile; also make sure they complement the room’s design and layout
- If you’re working with a small kitchen, consider installing cabinetry that has a multi-pantry closet or a lazy susan for the corner cabinet
- You can even create an office/homework center adjacent to the kitchen if you’re working with a larger budget
- An easy thing to do is organize your spices, silverware, knives, pots and pans, medications, toiletries, linens and even trash. Use specialty accessories, additional shelving in your cabinets, pull-down overhead cabinets, built-in hampers, pull-out trash containers and multiple storage drawers to free up unused space.
- Depending on your budget you can also remove a wall and adjoin rooms to install a more efficient closet system
- Another option, depending on cost (it can vary based on the size of wall and if it supports something), is to open that space up to the adjoining bath or bedroom to create an alcove. You can utilize that space for a small gym or exercise area.
- For closet areas, reorganize using the full height of the walls for cabinets and specialty built-ins
What are some simple ways to make a room “pop” and add a specific mood or ambiance?
There are many easy ways to “make” a room. Here are a few of DreamMaker's favorites:
- Include an indoor water feature, like a running water fountain, positioned near the foyer or dining room. Turn it on when receiving guests or during dinner. This creates a calming, soothing atmosphere.
- Include rope lighting with a multi-tiered trey ceiling, turning it on during dinner. This adds to a formal, yet inviting environment.
- Add bright, colorful throw pillows to your couch. This is a great way to temporarily create warmth to a typically neutral colored space.
- For the kitchen, having a raised bar area where guests can sit allows them to be part of the event. Guests will be able to have a conversation with the host as the meal is being prepared.
- For the family, incorporate an open area with an information center and a computer hook-up. This allows you to help children do their homework while preparing dinner - family fun time and memories in the making.
What are some simple ways to decorate my home without major remodeling?
Here are a few tips to spruce up your home's personality:
- Be creative with paint. Don't be afraid to upgrade your kitchen cabinets to a color other than wood base. For example, red and light blues are great additions to a retro-styled kitchen.
- Dress up your mantle. Add your favorite photos or sculpture to personalize your home. Pile on the pillows. Don't be afraid to mix and match materials and prints. Stripes, fringe, polka dots, sparkly and ruffled patterns are all great additions to seating.
Should I invest in new lighting fixtures?
Yes. Overhead light fixtures can turn any plain old bathroom into a luxurious vanity room. Think dressing room lights. Bright lights also enable a room to appear larger than usual. Different styles of fixtures can help achieve different looks. For example, Victorian fixtures add a romantic touch to the bathroom. Investing in new fixtures also could save you money if you buy fixtures that support energy-efficient bulbs.
My bathroom is small, and I’m thinking about re-doing it. Should I hire a professional or do it myself?
One of the biggest trends in home renovations is doing it yourself (DIY). You should consider how large the project is and if you have the right qualifications to take on the task. It is better to start by hiring an expert, rather than having to hire professionals after a DIY project has gone bad.
How can I help facilitate the remodeling process so I am happy with the outcome?
Here are a few suggestions to help you achieve your ultimate remodeling goals:
- Visualize and map out your “dream” space.
- Have a budget and stick with it.
- Communicate your thoughts, concerns and wants with your remodeler.
- If undergoing a major renovation, move out. This will ensure a quick finish and enable the professionals to work efficiently.
Tips for maintenance
- When worn areas appear, recoat with the same finish used on the cabinets or floors
- Use track off mats and furniture leg protector pads to prevent everyday wear and tear on your floors
- Vacuum floors frequently and wipe up spills promptly
Things to watch for
- Avoid excessive and prolonged exposure to sun light, high temperature and humidity
- Heating and cooling vents should be closed or directed away from cabinets
- Fingerprints, cooking fumes and smoking residue may accumulate and should be removed regularly
- Refrain from using ammonia or silicone cleaning products over long period of time
- Lemon or citrus oil
- A non-wax solution that contains polish or a mild detergent (any excess moisture should be wipe dry)
- Orange cleaner