New construction projects can create so much excitement, especially if you’re designing or remodeling your home’s exterior. Sometimes, it creates too much excitement, though, causing many people to jump right in without proper planning.
For many, planning an exterior construction project can feel equally (if not more) overwhelming than the actual project. But we believe it doesn’t have to be that way. Because once you understand a few of the basic steps for properly planning a building project, you’ll be able to start planning your own and create a much better end result.
Project planning lays the basics out of how a building project will work start to finish. However, another aspect of that process is design planning. Homes only feel and look unique when the “wow factor” is done right. In many cases, the wow factor is done using simplicity as the key.
Like most rules, there are exceptions when it comes to design planning for a home as well. There are some principles that can be applied to most styles, and here are some of those rules that you should know to make smart exterior home design choices.
- Simple Roof Designs – Roofs that are simple often look better and are easier to build than those that contain lots of steps and gables. Think about the roofline from the earliest design stages. The more time framers need to be on the roof working, the more likely the house is to cost more to build and maintain.
- Use Texture and Color – Instead of trying to use a lot of other elements, consider using exterior siding to add texture and color to enhance the appeal of your home. Adding materials and colors can really add to the design if it is done correctly.
- Could This Feature Work? – We all have the ability to recognize good and bad design, and that stems from common sense. So, ask yourself questions to qualify design decisions. “Could the shutters really close?” “Does the placement of that material make sense?”
- Avoid Double Height Entrances – You want to make a good impression with your front door because that’s where nearly every visitor will come, but double-height entrances are often off-putting. Not to mention, it’s also an insufficient use of space. This feature is often added to create interest in a dull elevation, but skip this feature in favor of other options.
An exterior home designer can help you make wise decisions on all of the above features. If you do consider working with an exterior designer, they should be well trained and provide a wide range of services. They should have extensive knowledge of landscaping, small building construction, color theory and curb appeal.
Selecting a design professional will typically start with an in-person meeting where you can learn about the services that they offer and determine if what they offer aligns with your expectations. You will also be able to find out if their services fit in your budget. After choosing an exterior designer, they will create a roadmap, maybe even two or three options, called schematic designs, so that you can get an idea of what their design would look like when implemented.
One of the most common questions people ask is whether or not they really need an exterior design professional. Many people believe this is a high-end, luxury service, but a designer isn’t just a decorator. They can add value to your property in a variety of ways:
- They can help with cost control by preventing potential issues you might not have anticipated, saving you money and time.
- Create a custom design that isn’t cookie-cutter.
- Choose the best materials and layout to provide the appearance and functionality that you desire.
- Offer suggestions that you might not have thought of on your own such as specialty lighting or creative storage solutions.
- Help make changes if the execution of the project isn’t living up to your expectations.
- Oversee contractors during the construction phase to ensure the design is being executed correctly and fix small issues before they become major problems.
- Help you choose materials that offer the most bang for your buck.
A construction plan is a bit different than a project plan in that it defines the work tasks of each entity involved in a project plan. It helps determine the technologies and tools that will be needed to complete project scope as well as a list of resources that must be acquired for completion.
It is important to understand that although a project plan remains fairly consistent, a construction plan is rather fluid, meaning it may change and adjust as the circumstances around the project change. Construction planning helps determine the costs associated with the project, as well as the project schedule and amount of time it will take to complete the project plan. It also helps decide what work needs to be done in what order.
Because construction planning is vital for any successful home renovation, here are a few tips to help you plan and prepare:
- Interview Contractors – It may take a few weeks to set up interviews with a few contractors and a month or more for those candidates to produce estimates and schematics. While you wait, call their references and visit job sites to help you make an educated decision about the contractor you will eventually hire.
- Go Shopping – If you don’t love to shop, a designer can be a huge asset. However, even if you like to shop, the choices can be overwhelming. Whether you are choosing door knobs, light fixtures or landscaping, give yourself time to choose things. Work with your contractor and designer to make the best decisions for your design and budget.
- Get Permits – Depending on your project, it could take days or even months to get the necessary permits. Some permits can cost thousands of dollars, depending on where you live and the size of your project. Your contractor should be able to help you file the permits and advise you of the length of time it will take to get approval.
The planning process of a remodel can be lengthy, but remember that each step gets you a bit closer. Keep in mind that modern technology can be a big help to the process as well, and you should take that into consideration when choosing your contractor. Would you rather have a contractor that has to shuffle through piles of paperwork to answer your questions or one who can pull up real-time data on their laptop or phone?
Although these technologies cost contractors more upfront, which often makes them hesitant to implement them, these technologies can save their customers time and money over the course of their project and reduce project risk. Here are just a few ways that technology could improve your relationship with your contractor as well as the work they do:
- Collaborate More Effectively – Technology available on the job site means your contractor can collaborate with you, architects, designers and the rest of the team in real-time. They can collect information and share it with others instantly. Using applications and software for bidding, planning and tracking, these technological advances can help collaboration and communication, reducing errors and downtime.
- Make More Informed Decisions – If you decide you want to make a last-minute change, technology will allow your contractor to make real-time adjustments so you can see how the change would impact labor and costs. This means you and your contractor can make better-informed decisions faster so your project can stay on the right timeline and on budget.
- Ensure Compliance – By having technology on the job site, construction teams can document better and ensure that they are in compliance with regulations. They can provide more complete and accurate documentation in a timely manner, saving them both time and reducing the potential for penalties.
- Cloud-Based Access – Cloud-based data storage allows contractors to access documents, contracts, blueprints and other information anywhere they have internet access. This decreases wait time that can cause costly mistakes and serious delays.
How Synapse Construction Can Help
Synapse Construction is a full-service exterior siding company local to Seattle. We have completed a variety of commercial and residential siding projects and window replacement projects. We can guide you in choosing the best siding and window options for your design and budget and have experience with all varieties of siding products. Whether you have a new construction, remodel, custom design, residential or commercial project, we’ve got you covered.
We understand that each project is unique, and we won’t be happy with our work until you are satisfied. As an insured, bonded, and licensed siding and window company, we guarantee our work. Here are just a few of the things we excel in:
- Residential Exteriors – We provide siding replacement and restoration, window installation, and planning and design services for your residential projects. From condominiums and apartments to single-family homes, the results we provide come from years of dedication to making the dreams of our homeowners come true. We understand that the Pacific Northwest comes with a variety of harsh and unique weather conditions, which means extra care and caution must be taken to protect your home. Our windows and siding will not only improve the value and curb appeal of your home but will provide it with the energy efficiency, comfort and security you desire.
- Commercial Exteriors – We have partnered with both large and small businesses so we can offer you finished products that we are proud to share. We are locally-owned and operated, and each of our projects gets our full attention. We provide quality, reliable services while still maintaining a friendly and personable touch that only a local business could offer. All of our designs will ensure that your commercial property maintains the level of quality you want while standing up to the highest degree of scrutiny.
- Exterior Design Services – You’ve heard that a picture is worth 1,000 words, and that is especially true when it comes to the exterior design of your home. At Synapse Construction, we can provide you with a schematic of your home or business, so you know exactly what to expect when the project is complete. Our 3-D design service will allow you to view the design from any angle, and there is no limit to the types of materials we can use in our models.
We’re proud of the work we do and the professionalism and expertise we can give your project. With years of experience and the use of modern technology, we will keep your project on or ahead of schedule and ensure that it is wrapped up and done right.
Over the years, we have even been recognized for our design expertise and outstanding work that offers you additional peace of mind when choosing to work with us. We were the Master Design Award Winner in 2017, 2018 and 2019, received Best of Houzz Service in 2016 and 2017, and were recognized as a Best Siding Contractor in Seattle in 2019.
Contact us to help with your exterior design project from start to finish.