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Responsible remodeling; knowing when to replace or rework

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Remodeling projects are birthed from the result of two conditions; the desire to upgrade to modern convenience, or the need to upgrade from degraded systems. In either case, the old (or existing) is replaced with something new. The primary goal is to create a new environment that is more aesthetically pleasing, easier to use and easier to maintain. The remodeling project will suffer a shorter lifespan if any of these requirements have not been met. Careful planning includes identifying the problem and providing a cost-effective solution through the use of properly specified building materials. Of equal importance is finding the best craftsman for the job. The two go hand-in-hand. Quality workmanship has less value when coupled with cheap materials, just like high-end materials go to waste in the hands of an unskilled worker. Success is dependent on finding the right balance.

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Project success is not necessarily defined by how much money is spent, but rather by good design and building execution. In addition, a good remodeling project doesn't always tear everything out and replace it with new product. Having the ability to recognize sound existing materials and execution, coupled with maintaining the integrity of the building's age and architecture, is part of creating an end result you can be proud of. Planning a remodel can be summed up in the acronym, REAP;
- Recognize the difference between needs and desires.
- Execute the project with quality product and workmanship.
- Allow the design and execution to be organic. In other words, be open to change.
- Practicality. Don't spend beyond your means, or invest more than the property is worth.

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