Exterior Home Improvements - Order of Operations?

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tooluser
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Exterior Home Improvements - Order of Operations?

Postby tooluser » Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:27 pm

I'd like to get several things done with the outside of the house: (I am in Los Angeles)

1) New driveway/paving
2) Replace concrete patio with deck and add retractable awning
3) Add outside electrical - outlets and light fixtures
4) New windows
5) Paint exterior
6) New landscaping

I'm thinking that's the right order to do things in. Is it? (This would help me to plan and prioritize.)

- All of the concrete is cracked and deteriorating.
- Concrete patio abuts the driveway, and is an unusual shape that I would want to change.
- The electrical work implies running conduit, which intersects with the paving tear out and installation
- New windows are optional but would be nice - currently single-pane aluminum sliders
- Landscaping would include new irrigation, which intersects with the paving tear out and installation
- I worry about dripping paint on my new paving, and marring the new paint job with the other work
- I realize there is interior work to go with the windows

Perhaps I am trying to think through too many things at once. I have time to spread it out, and probably need to do so for budget reasons.

Can one builder/contractor do it all, or is that a bad idea? General contractors seem to specialize in one thing or another, typically room additions in my area. Would an architect of some type help me figure this out? It seems like I need an integrated plan.

Thank you!
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. -- Some Dead Guy

Mudpuppy
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Re: Exterior Home Improvements - Order of Operations?

Postby Mudpuppy » Sat Jun 17, 2017 11:58 pm

There's no real need to do all of jobs for the exterior redo at the same time. You can spread them out over time. For example, there are tools that can route conduit and irrigation under existing concrete if needed. However, it might make sense to draw up exterior plans with a landscape architect so the contractors can lay the appropriate conduit before they pour the new concrete and so that you get a better idea of the scope and costs associated with all of the projects. So your first step would be to interview a few landscape architects and choose one to come up with a set of plans for the exterior.

As for the windows and painting, that would be a separate job. Obviously, get the windows replaced before the painting is done. But otherwise, I wouldn't worry too much about the timing of these two jobs relative to the timing of the landscaping and hardscaping redo. Professional painters would cover the concrete before spraying the house and you really have to scrape against a house to cause a scratch in exterior paint (exterior paint is very thick), so either ordering is fine.

I'm more keyed in on your statement about the budget though. Separate the "need to do" (deteriorating or unsafe conditions) items from the "would like to do" items. Focus your budget on the "need to do" items first. If all the items are "would like to do" items, start with the ones you personally would like the most and can afford to do.

For example, there are many exterior projects I would like to do, such as adding a utility patio next to the garage for gardening and trash can storage. But my old patio cover was decaying and unsafe, so I had that replaced first. My trash cans can safely sit on the dirt next to the garage, so that can wait. Similarly, I have cracks in the driveway and a very ugly portion of concrete in the walkway from a sewer line repair, but it's only unsightly. It's not a safety issue yet. So again, not a high priority.

denovo
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Re: Exterior Home Improvements - Order of Operations?

Postby denovo » Sun Jun 18, 2017 3:43 am

Mudpuppy wrote:
I'm more keyed in on your statement about the budget though. Separate the "need to do" (deteriorating or unsafe conditions) items from the "would like to do" items. Focus your budget on the "need to do" items first. If all the items are "would like to do" items, start with the ones you personally would like the most and can afford to do.



+1. Also consider the life of your home and when the last time certain things were updated/renovated. You shouldn't burn all your money on would like to do items and then be in big trouble if you need a new roof because your current one is 25 years old and you've spent all your money on unnecessary stuff.
Last edited by denovo on Sun Jun 18, 2017 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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runner3081
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Re: Exterior Home Improvements - Order of Operations?

Postby runner3081 » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:36 am

I would do the driveway and patio work last. This way you don't have big dirty trucks that may leak fluids parking on your new driveway and workers carrying tools and equipment in over your patio right away.

noco-hawkeye
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Re: Exterior Home Improvements - Order of Operations?

Postby noco-hawkeye » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:03 am

There are some shortcuts that might help you in your list too-

  • Solar powered landscape lights are fairly inexpensive, and you do not need to run conduit or dig up your yard. You won't have any new electrical outlets, but you will have some new lighting.
  • I am currently adding a window film / tint to a few windows in our house. It's a fairly low cost way to add energy efficiency to existing windows. Instead of tens of thousands of dollars, its more like hundreds.
I agree with the others that I would focus on the true needs first, then tackle the more optional items later. The above items are possibly things you could add with much less cost, and be ok for a few years.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Exterior Home Improvements - Order of Operations?

Postby Grt2bOutdoors » Sun Jun 18, 2017 8:11 am

runner3081 wrote:I would do the driveway and patio work last. This way you don't have big dirty trucks that may leak fluids parking on your new driveway and workers carrying tools and equipment in over your patio right away.


+1 - last is right. I would have the driveway done last.
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tooluser
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Re: Exterior Home Improvements - Order of Operations?

Postby tooluser » Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:43 am

Thanks for the inputs! I have a little more to think about now.
Prioritization based on need, potential for mess, then desires.
Don't worry too much about tying it all together at once.
Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. -- Some Dead Guy

Mudpuppy
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Re: Exterior Home Improvements - Order of Operations?

Postby Mudpuppy » Sun Jun 18, 2017 1:03 pm

tooluser wrote:Thanks for the inputs! I have a little more to think about now.
Prioritization based on need, potential for mess, then desires.
Don't worry too much about tying it all together at once.

One more thought. Depending on where your utility and water districts, there may be rebates available for the window replacement and the landscaping, if you convert part or all of the yard to drought-tolerant landscaping. Now that the drought is eased, there may not be as much of a rush for the drought-tolerant landscaping rebates, even though several of the programs were funded for multiple years. Another of my "want to do" items is converting part of the backyard into a California native "meadow", but right now it's just nut-sedge and California poppies, so it needs quite a bit of work.

SimonJester
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Re: Exterior Home Improvements - Order of Operations?

Postby SimonJester » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:49 am

I would say driveway and landscaping last. New windows and the electrical outlet before painting, that way everything can be patched, sealed, caulked and painted.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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lthenderson
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Re: Exterior Home Improvements - Order of Operations?

Postby lthenderson » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:02 am

I would do the driveway second to last. New concrete takes up to a year to fully cure and at least about a week to ten days before I would drive a vehicle on it to prevent premature cracking. For that reason, I would get the concrete of the patio done before the driveway so if there is a pump and a concrete truck involved, the latter which is really heavy for a residential driveway, it can be done on the old concrete.

If your renovations require removing parts of the existing driveway to complete, simply will in the voids with quick patch. It looks ugly but is cheap and easy to do until the time comes when you have all your other projects wrapped up and are ready to finish off with the driveway.

The landscaping always do last when everything else is done. That way you are tromping over things or having to move stuff around everything you planted.

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Bengineer
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Re: Exterior Home Improvements - Order of Operations?

Postby Bengineer » Mon Jun 19, 2017 10:26 am

I too think a landscape architect / designer is the first item. Get what you want to happen with your outdoor spaces first. Meanwhile, you can investigate replacement window options and cost and maybe start getting recommendations for contractors.

You can get a general contractor to do the whole job, or hire window guys, painters, landscapers and concrete guys yourself. Tradeoffs either way.

A couple side thoughts:
Concrete: Spend some time getting a reputable contractor. You want strong concrete that won't crack. To me, that means a good spec for the delivered concrete, not letting the almost certain pumper in the LA area water it down to make it easy to pump & place, partitioning it into reasonably sized slabs, avoiding the hot season and curing it properly. The longer you can keep the concrete moist, the stronger it will be.

Shade: Alternatives to retractable awnings, which are expensive, are solar screens on the windows and mesh tarps shading the outdoor living areas. They can make a huge difference in liveability here in sunny SoCal. "Lunch on the patio" becomes much more comfortable.


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