By Lance McCarthy
Have you ever gone past the point of no return with something? In movies, this is the point in the plot where the character does something that changes everything, and will be very difficult to undo.
Neo eating the red pill. George McFly punching Biff. Thelma and Louise driving off the cliff. Walter White…well…really everything he did in every episode of Breaking Bad.
Remodeling projects can be like that. Homeowners know that the process is important, and will usually change their lives. They also know there are “points of no return” in the process — places where a step forward will be difficult to reverse. The problem is that most people don’t have any experience with construction projects, and don’t know where those points are. Many times the points that seem the most important aren’t, and points that seem trivial are very important. It’s almost like there is a FAKE PONR (that’s Point of No Return for all you people who aren’t good with acronyms) for every REAL PONR.
Today, I want to give you four Fake and Real PONR’s in a remodeling project.
1. Fake PONR. Receiving the initial bid. This feels like a really important step, but it is (or should be) just the start of a longer conversation about what things cost and what you want.
Real PONR. Choosing the contractor. This is the one that is hard to undo. You will invest a lot of time, money and emotion into a relationship, and it is important that you choose someone who will be a good fit. And in case that line feels like a sales pitch, that isn’t always us.
2. Fake PONR. The first day of construction. This feels really important, but with the possible exception of tearing off the roof on the wrong house by accident, it isn’t a biggie.
Real PONR. Right before the concrete is poured. Concrete is, well, permanent. If it is slightly out of level, or there isn’t enough rebar, or the mix isn’t right, a correction usually means a complete re-do.
3. Fake PONR. The first day of framing. Firsts always feel important, but framing (like many stages in a remodeling project) is more like well orchestrated jazz than it is like a marching band performance. The crew is working to reconcile the plans with the reality of an imperfect building. Mistakes are made, but then they are just corrected.
Real PONR. The start of drywall. Drywall installers aren’t framers or electricians, but many times they are forced to deal with mistakes from the other workers. Discover an outlet two inches off center? Big problem. Plumbing pipe not glued properly? Big problem. Today everything gets covered up, so inspect everything carefully to prevent future (costly) fixes.
4. Fake PONR. The day the walls are painted. This is one of the most exhilarating days of a project. The rooms feel like real rooms for the first time. However, these wonderful walls will get nicks and smudges before the project is done, so many good painters wait for the final coat until the very end of the project.
Real PONR. The day trim is sprayed. Walls are easy to touch up, but trim is hard. That coat of spray is critical and time consuming. Make sure the trim and cabinets and little shelving details are exactly right before the sprayer comes out. Changes were easy yesterday, but will be expensive tomorrow.
Hope that was helpful. Now your assignment is to use “PONR” (pronunciation up to you) in a sentence sometime tomorrow. I’ll check up with you to see how you did.
This weekly sponsored column is written by Lance McCarthy of ReTouch, a full-service, client-based contractor specializing in home remodels. For more information about their services, or to view samples of their work, visit their website.