Ways to Save on Your Remodeling Project in San Antonio by Keith Moehle

Ways to Save on Your Remodeling Project

Many people watch the DIY network and reality shows like Fixer Upper (I know you love Chip and Jo!) or Love It or List It. When watching these shows, many people see themselves, they see their home (current or dream home) and think: "Wow! I can totally do this myself!" I mean it’s called the DIY Network, right?? "Cmon Honey! Let’s tackle this over the weekend!" 

Maybe you can do it all! We applaud you because the majority of folks simply cannot perform at that skill or patience level! If you’re one of the majority and can’t do all of the DIY’s, maybe you can do part of it. But which part? If I’m hiring a contractor in San Antonio, which part will save me the most money but are still doable?

FIRST work with a local San Antonio remodeler before starting anything! A good remodeler will give you tips on which part of the project you can easily tackle. He will also instruct you on how to do this project correctly! 

Demolition is probably the easiest thing to tackle! We can give you some tips on how to do it safely and how it can save some money.! Doing your own demo might not save as much as you think but, hey...every little bit helps.

One question we get asked a lot is "Do you have to have a license to do DIY in San Antonio?." The answer is NO! But the work does need to be done up to code and get inspected. If it is not done correctly you will have to either figure out how to fix it or hire a contractor (which you could’ve done in the first place).

IF you are going to go through with doing the demo, here are a few tips: 

  1. Get appropriate PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
  2. Do lead and asbestos testing. These are serious health hazards and can be found in the most random places like glue in the vinyl flooring. 
  3. Have the whole plan lined out! We can help you with this. We don’t want you to end up doing things that will end up costing more in the future.

Here are some other ways to save:

  1. Do your own clean up. This could save you $300 to $500 right there. Again, every little bit can help.
  2. Consider alternative products. You don’t have to buy marble or travertine. With modern technology, there are similar products that look exactly the same for less and actually out-perform the originals.
  3. Do your own painting. We can guide you thru the process to do a good job. This one will actually save you a good chunk of money!
  4. Moving out of your house during the project. On a big project this will definitely save you money. The contractor can move a lot faster with the home owner out of the house.

What if I buy the material? It’s on sale right now so I might as well snatch it up, right? NOPE! There will always be sales! We highly recommend not buying your own material for the following reasons:

  1. The material you are buying may not be the quality you need for this type of project.
  2. It may not be the product you would use for this project. For example, the tile that you see isn’t made for water but you want it to go in the shower. Another common example is that this tile has glass in it and it will end up showing the grout underneath. It will completely change the look of the tile and you won’t like it.
  3. A lot of times the contractor will be able to buy these materials at the same discount you see or EVEN BETTER.
  4. If you buy them, you are responsible for the material now. You must store them; you must deal with the leftover product or locate more if you didn’t buy enough.  Obtaining the same material and dye lot might not be possible, leaving you with unprofessional results!

Another thing you don’t want to do is refurbish cabinets that aren’t worth saving. Painting stain-grade cabinets will not give the same quality results that a paint-grade cabinet will.  And if you're putting too much into cabinets like that or that have poor hinges, hardware and drawer guides  or out of style doors you may just be putting lipstick on a pig! Just not worth it!



Here is the fourth and final post in a series to show you some of the projects we completed this year that recently won awards of excellence from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). This project won a Contractor of the Year Award of Excellence in the category of Entire House Under $250,000.

The homeowners came to us looking for help on a complete remodel of an existing vacation home along the banks of the Blanco River. The home had been flooded during the May 2013 floods and was severely damaged.

The project was a complete gut and rebuild. During the project we also fixed some of the relationships to the bedrooms and modernized the kitchen and all the bathrooms with new materials and tile.

Included in the rebuild was a custom utility room, living room and custom craft room.

The homeowners have a big family and use the home for large gatherings around the holidays and other special occasions, so they requested that we bring back the house for them without radically adjusting the floor plan, as they wanted to have a feeling that it was still the old house.

The result is a gorgeous home the homeowners can use for their large gatherings with the nostalgia of the previous home but even better in that it allows them a better space for the next century of family and friends utilizing the space.


Here is the third post in a series to show you some of the projects we completed this year that recently won awards of excellence from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). This project won a Contractor of the Year Award of Excellence in the category of Residential Exterior Over $100,000.

The homeowner came to us wanting to revitalize her home in the gorgeous Terrell Hills area of San Antonio. She shared with us that her neighbors had all redone their homes and hers was the last on the block in need of updating. We were thrilled to work with her to transform her home and help her create a gorgeous façade of which she could be proud.

Upon inspection of the home, we noticed severe damage to the siding, with some spots along the fascia containing large holes. The home, built in 1941, contained both asbestos and lead paint and would require a special demolition process to ensure the safety of the homeowner and crew and to guarantee proper removal.

The homeowner asked us to replace the roof at the same time, opting for a metal roof instead of the asphalt shingle roof we removed. All the windows also were replaced during the project.

As you can see, the result is a complete transformation of the home into a gorgeous show piece for the block. The homeowner was thrilled with the results as well as the response of her neighbors, who she says have loved the new life her home has given their street.


Here is the second post in a series to show you some of the projects we completed this year that recently won awards of excellence from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). This project won a Contractor of the Year Award of Excellence in the category of Residential Addition Under $100,000.

The homeowners came to us looking for help on an addition to their home. They’d lived in the home nearly two decades and needed a space for him to practice with his band. He’d recently started holding practice sessions at their home in preparation for some performances they’d scheduled, but they didn’t have adequate space for everyone to comfortably practice together.

In reviewing the existing home, the footprint of the lot and the needs of the homeowner, we determined an addition to the rear of the home would be perfect for their needs. However, in addition to a typical addition, this one would need some special features to make it work for both homeowners.

Skylights and multiple lighting options were included to ensure the musicians would have plenty of lighting while practicing. Soundproofing was included in the walls to ensure the volume of the group practicing together wouldn’t disturb the neighbors. Additionally, special soundproof doors into the space were utilized to ensure she could comfortably enjoy the existing space even while the band was practicing.

The resulting space is both functional and beautiful. The homeowners let us know that the space works perfectly for their needs while also adding living space and value to their home. The band is able to practice comfortably together in preparation for their upcoming performances, and the space achieves the goal of looking like it was part of the original footprint of the home.


We've gotten some questions about the award-winning projects we posted about last week, so we thought we'd share them with you! We're going to start with this project, a kitchen for the Pintos, which won the Contractor of the Year Award for a Residential Kitchen $40,000 - $80,000.

The homeowners came to us wanting help updating their kitchen. Their children are older now, and they all love to come to the house for holidays and other family gatherings. The homeowners also love to host large events at their home. Their home didn’t really provide the space they needed for these large gatherings, and the kitchen was very separate from the living space, so the homeowners often felt like they couldn’t enjoy their guests while they were in the kitchen.

The homeowner loves to cook, so the kitchen features a custom stove area with a full open pantry and a giant island that now all connect to the kitchen bar. This gives the homeowner the connection he craved to his friends and family during their gatherings.

Additionally, to provide more space in the renovated kitchen, we removed some cabinets in the living area that were obsolete. The kitchen area also is located near the outdoor/pool area, but the existing doorway didn’t allow a connection to the area. As part of the project we fixed the connection, allowing for more seating during parties via the breakfast nook, the Island area and integration with the rest of the living space.

The resulting project brought the house into the 21st-century where they can entertain with adult friends and their adult children for like the next few decades. They love their home and had no desire to move, so this project was truly a family making a commitment to their home to transform it into something much more suited to their lifestyle as hosts for large gatherings.