Going Over Budget

More often than not, original budgets are exceeded when completing a home renovation of any kind.  After all, I can put together a guest bathroom remodel that can cost $6,000 or I can offer a package with custom cabinetry, upgraded counter tops and plumbing that will come in closer to $10,000. A vast majority of the time the budget increase comes from two things- clients choosing to upgrade certain aspects of the project, or unforeseen issues. It’s a good idea to know what kind of materials, finishes and appliances you are thinking of installing prior to speaking with a contractor so that you receive accurate first bid.

Client upgrades is a very broad term but, in my experience, usually entail one or more of the following-

Cabinetry- As mentioned in my example above cabinetry, and the bells and whistles, can quickly add up in price. There are so many details that can add character, or organization to your project. Glass panel cabinet doors are a beautiful way to showcase your rarely used china, adding crown molding or light rail to the bottom of the cabinets, and including built in silverware dividers, or pull out racks behind doors are all common upgrades that can tack on thousands of dollars. Ask your contractor or designer if there are aftermarket options for organization options that could be less expensive.


Appliances- Appliances are very important! They are a fixture and are used daily in your home, and can be very costly depending on what you’re looking for. I always check my calendar for the next holiday, or three-day weekend because that is when you can typically find the best deal on appliances. Some clients are unsure of where the additional money can go the furthest in their renovation, I personally think this is where it counts! For example- the additional $400.00 to upgrade to a slide in stove, or the jump from a standard depth refrigerator to a counter depth makes a big difference in your completed space and how much more updated it will feel. Keep in mind, if you currently have an electric range and are wanting a gas stove the stove itself is costlier, as well as the additional labor that this switch entails. The same goes for bathroom fixtures; You can upgrade from a standard shower head to a rain shower head, with a handheld fixture and in a specialty finish to increase the project cost.

pexels-photo-213162.jpegCounter-tops- Depending on the last time you purchased counter-tops you could be in for a bit of a sticker shock. Laminate counter-tops were once all the rage, and they were very affordable but the times have changed! Quartz and Granite are the new “it” counter-tops. You can expect to pay almost triple per square foot what you paid for your original counter-tops. ($50-80 sq ft)


Unforeseen, and unavoidable issues- Trust me when I say that your contractor dislikes approaching you with the bad news just as much as you dislike hearing about it! Recently on one of our jobs the painter came in to start prepping the walls for paint. When he started to sand the walls, he realized there was a problem- the original owners of the home painted with oil based paint directly on the drywall compound without priming. This meant that in order to prep the walls for paint they had to peel the existing paint off, and it was coming off in 2’’ pieces! Needless to say, this added on plenty of additional time and he had to readjust his bid for the paint! Other issues can be structural, like a previous incorrect install or termites.Home-Remodeling-Home-Construction-General-Contractor-DC

Change orders- Changing your mind is A-OK, in most cases you will be presented with a “change order” that should describe the change as well as give a price for the additional work. Keep in mind that often when you change the scope of work, the budget and construction time are both increased. In some instances, change orders can be a bit trickier and costly. For example, if you have selected and ordered an under-mount kitchen sink, and at the arrival of the sink you decide you’d prefer a farmhouse sink you may be charged a restocking fee in addition to the change order.


What is taking so long?

Home remodels are not done overnight. Although believe me, we sometimes hope it could be! When planning your next home renovation, the time you should allot from start to completion can be just as important as the budgeting- so here are some items that tend to be a “longer lead time” and the average time they might take-


  1. Custom door and windows- Especially down here in South Florida impact rated doors and windows are crucial to your home. Not only do they help with the obvious hurricane but they also help with cooling your home, and keeping sound out. Typically, when working on a job I like to give 6-8 weeks when from ordering to time of installation.
  2. Permits- Permits are an unnegotiable part of a remodel. The fee for the permits is typically based on the overall cost of your project, and your contractor may charge a flat fee for filing the permits as well. It’s a bonus to work with a contractor that is reputable in your neighborhood with a great relationship with the inspectors. Dependent on the scope of work and the city that the permit is being filed you can expect 3-5 weeks until they are approved.
  3. Custom Cabinetry- Like most things, the word “custom” usually adds about 2 weeks lead time onto most anything! In the case of custom cabinetry, it is SO worth the wait, depending on the finish and style of your chosen door style allow 8-12 weeks for the cabinetry to be installed.
  4. Specialty finishes- Some finishes are very popular and kept in stock- brushed nickel shower fixtures for example. If you’re looking for a brushed gold, or polished black you an expect to wait 4-6 weeks so order in advanced! With orders like this make sure your designer or contractor is sure they can get the coordinating pieces in the same finish! My designer tip to you would be to buy everything in brass… and get it plated locally!
  5. Counter tops- Selecting countertops is one of my favorite parts of a kitchen remodel because there are SO many slabs to check out. Having so many options can sometimes be overwhelming for clients and hinder making a decision on a timely basis. I recommend starting sooner rather than later so that you’re able to keep the job moving forward. Once a slab has been selected the company will come template the area it is being installed and two weeks after that will be installed.
  6. Glass enclosures- This one falls under the responsibility of the contractor or designer on the job. Shower enclosures are made to order and completely custom so figure 2 weeks from measure to install.
  7. Backorder flooring or specialty moldings- Flooring is a major component to the design of any space, so in most cases I’d say its worth waiting for your flooring (if its in a reasonable time frame). In my years of flooring sales, I’d say the average back order date is within 6 weeks, anymore than that would be determined on how much you love that floor!

Bathroom Trends

Thinking of starting a remodel? Bathrooms are the perfect room to start your home renovation for a couple of different reasons. It gives you the opportunity to “try-out” a general contractor, it is a good way to build a budget for the rest of your projects and it gives you the opportunity to change the style of your home if you find it has become outdated. Champion Construction & Remodel has been doing a BUNCH of great bathrooms lately and I’d like to share the most popular bathroom trends that I don’t see going out of style any time soon.


Subway Tile- It’s everywhere and I like it! Subway tile is easy to find and comes in a wide array of colors and sizes. Subway tile can be transitional, farmhouse, craftsman or modern in design and the best part is it is so reasonably priced. For under a couple hundred dollars you can purchase the tile for a bath/shower walls.

Stand alone vanities- As opposed to the traditional vanity that appears to be more “built-in” the stand alone is a piece of furniture in the bathroom. White, grey, or a wood finish can fit a plethora of design styles but is always a wonderful statement. See some of my absolute favorites below.

Transitional Styles- As I previously mentioned, the bathroom is a great place to start the transition your home décor. It allows you to go from traditionally styled to something more current without going too far out of your comfort zone. I have found my clients tend to lean more contemporary then they had originally thought, with clean lines and more of a minimalist look but with traditional touches.

Quartz Countertops- It’s manmade, it’s reasonably priced, and it is more monotone then the granite of the past. Although it is man-made it is a composite of natural elements that are stain resistant and extremely durable. This is important on countertops that could potentially need to withstand the heat of a curling iron, spilled makeup products and often cleaned with harsh chemicals. Solid white, or white with grey veining tend to be the go to for bathroom countertops everywhere!

Repeat after me, “Gray is here to stay”. The color gray has been a fan favorite for kitchens and bathrooms alike. Gray can be paired with so many different colors to fit many types of bathroom styles. From gray tiles, vanities or paint. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

Undermount sinks- Vessel sinks are a thing of the past! Since vanities are now a focal point in bathrooms it only makes sense that the sinks would be more subdued in the design of the bathroom. Pair a beautiful wood vanity and a killer sink faucet in a gold finish- let those have the spotlight instead!

A Step-Above Flooring Installation

More often than not, the entryway is the first thing your guests will see when they enter your front door. Take this opportunity to wow them and define the space!  The dimensions and shape of the foyer should help determine the best design layout This can be something as simple a darker toned wood border, medallion or as intricate as a marble and wood lattice design.


Depending on the layout of your home you can define the different rooms in your house with the flooring design as well. This can be a bold statement when done with contrasting tones or changing materials. The less noticeable option is selected the same material but in a different size. This often is an over looked option but can really ramp up your home design! Notice in the photos below how we defined the island in the kitchen, as well and separated the dining room from the kitchen with the tile border.

Of course, it is always a great idea to speak with your installer about the extra labor, and material costs associated with the design of your choosing.

Condo Renovations

South Florida shorelines, and inter-coastal are lined with beautiful high-rise condominiums and apartment buildings. This allows a greater number of people to enjoy the views and perks of ocean side living during winter months, or even year-round. While renovating a single-family home, and a condominium may seem like it should be a very similar process- there are many differences in the process.


The biggest difference in renovations are the rules that you are bound to by living in a building with an association. Be sure to speak with the board prior to starting your renovations so you are aware of what can, and cannot be done. These can have regulations from which days and times you are able to work, to the materials and underlayment requirements for flooring. Your general contractor will have a specified place to park work vehicles, carting out demo materials and a reserved elevator as well. When creating a timeline for the scope of work it is always beneficial to add 6 weeks’ time to that! Try and remember all of these rules are set in place to keep the rest of your neighbors bother free!

Speaking with a GC early on in the project can be a great help. Many of the units have rounded walls, support beams and columns and other structural pieces that may not be able to be moved. So, before you get your heart set on removing the column in the kitchen for your future island- let us help you! This is also a general rule of thumb for bathrooms as well and moving plumbing fixtures. Hiring a designer can help you get the same appearance bathroom you were longing for with finish selections or tricks of the trade!

Speak with you neighbors and board members for a list of recommended trades people to interview. Working with a GC or Designer that have had previous experience working in the building can be a big bonus- They are already familiar with the unit layouts, and aware of the protocols and regulations in the building. This can make for smooth sailing when trying to schedule deliveries, or remove demolished material from your unit. You’d be surprised the ordeal that can arise for something that would seem as simple as a furniture, or materials delivery.

The stress of living in a construction zone can sometimes take away from the positive experience you should have! Here in South Florida a majority of the condos are winter vacation homes. If this is the case, try and do the work in the summer months when you don’t have to worry about not having a bathroom or kitchen for a weeks’ time.  If you reside in the unit year round try and take the time for a mini staycation or a brief family trip to Disneyworld!

Why choose LVT?

Luxury vinyl tile has become extremely popular over the past years and for several very good reasons! It’s resilient, waterproof and it mirrors natural flooring options remarkably well. You might hear it called LVT or LVP.  These products have made a huge impact on the market and are  quickly taking over all floor coverings, especially laminates.  LVT has become readily available now in a wide array of colors and styles. This type of floor covering has become a go to for Champion Remodel due to its ease of installation and durability. Working in a very humid climate, such as Southern Florida, it tends to fit all of the attributes that our clients are looking for while still having the appearance of a high end engineered wood or natural stone flooring.

LVT is made of a vinyl composite that has been “glued” together layer by layer with heat and extreme pressure. Some of the manufacturer’s, like Core TEC, have a cork filling or backing which is an added sound barrier bonus. This works out wonderfully in condo buildings with flooring underlayment requirements. The print film layer is where the plank gets its wood, or stone look is adhered to the base.. It is printed with hi-resolution printers and the wear layer, the layer you walk on, is on top. The different millimeter wear layer is what makes this flooring so resilient. The thicker the wear layer, the more resilient the flooring is against wear patterns in high traffic areas, scratching, and denting. The wear layer is also where they are able to give a hand scraping finish, or texture.

Why we love LVT?

  • It is 100% waterproof! Due to the composition of LVT it is an extremely appealing decision for kitchens and bathrooms, mudrooms and laundry rooms, as well as Florida beach homes!
  • NO acclimatization required, ready to be installed as soon as its delivered
  • It is a softer surface than natural stone products making this a more comfortable flooring choice and softer on joints while walking barefoot at home.
  • LVT offers versatile installation options which makes it appealing to homeowners, as well as installers. Hard surface floors such as Engineered wood can require major prep work to be done to the subfloor. In most scenarios LVT can be installed over the existing floors with minimal prep.  It also can be installed over a less than perfect subfloor. This can be a big help for budget and time. Some planks have the “click” install, while others are glue down.
  • Easy maintenance- standard sweeping, and mopping is all that’s needed to keep your flooring appearing brand new.
  • Best option for commercial spaces, or high traffic areas.
All photos are recent Champion Remodel installations


Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have about LVT!

Always remember we offer free estimates to the South Florida area.

Champion Remodel & Construction