In our third episode of this free online education series, learn the steps to a successful basement, pop top, or remodel project.

Our own Adam Rossi, President, and Courtney Maynard (Sales Manager) join host Mia Voss to give you the keys to a successful design build process from start to finish.

You will learn:

  • What should happen at the first meeting (and who should be there)
  • The paperwork to expect during the Design Build process
  • Tests, vendors, contracts, and budget tips to make sure you have a complete picture before anything starts
  • The major milestones and steps in each type of project (basements, major remodeling, and "popping the top" on a home)
  • And so much more!

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Duration: 7:32

Learn how important communication with your contractor is before and during your entire remodeling project. Hear some examples of projects gone bad, and how to prevent them from happening.

  • Communication is the key.
  • A professional Project Manager is a huge benefit
  • Having clear expectations set in advance
  • A clear understanding by the homeowner of how the construction process will work is important.

Several "gone bad" issues are discussed such as when a homeowner might choose to order their own cabinets, that take 8 weeks to arrive, will delay much of the project by that much.

Duration: 2:37

Is it better to buy finishes through the contractor or on your own?

The short answer is yes you can with Blue Sky Remodeling. Some contractors do not give you that flexibility.

At Blue Sky Remodeling we separate the selection process and give you a good better and best option for all the finish decisions you will make, such as carpet, hardware and many more. We do offer you a list of preferred vendors that we have worked out discount pricing through, but you are welcome to go to Home Depot or any vendor of your choice. Blue Sky remodeling does not mark up your choices, or receive any compensation from our preferred vendors when you purchase through them.

Duration: 1:11

Adam discusses the timing and process of selection from the second appointment to final selection.

Bonus Question:

What's the average total time for design build, pop-tops, and other remodeling projects in the Denver area?

Adam discusses the how long each different type project might take to complete.

Duration: 1:49

Adam and Courtney discuss the importance of all decision makers being at the first meeting whenever possible. This will speed up the entire process, and allow everyones ideas to be discussed.

All the different remodeling project types have a tendency to follow the same format during the first meeting. No matter if you are doing a pop top, major remodel, or basement finish, the first appointment is to answer the question of how to get from point A to point B in that project, and then go back to the office to get the design team involved. Besides the discussion points, some projects we will need to take measurements at the first meeting as well.

Duration: 3:31

A very common question is how long the first appointment will take. The short answer is 60 to 90 minutes is very typical for basement finishing and remodeling projects.

Courtney answers the question of how a homeowner can be most prepared by discussing how you may want to make a list of questions for the contractor. Have your expectations clearly thought out, as far as design, budget and timing.

Homeowners are encouraged to take notes, just to remember what was discussed. You may be speaking to several contractors, and it can become confusing. There is also a suggestion that you record the discussion.

During early research is a great idea. An example is using our basement cost estimator on our site, and becoming as educated as you can about the process.

Duration: 4:33

Selecting your contractor for any remodeling project large or small, is based on the same principles and will be the most important decision you make.

Suggestions discussed in this video are:

  • There needs to be good chemistry. It’s like a short term marriage so you want to be very comfortable with the communication style and personality of the contractor you hire.
  • They will be spending lots of time in your home. You should feel the professionalism of the company and person in the selection process.
  • Any red flags or gut feelings that aren’t good should not be ignored. Major home remodeling is one of the larger investments you may make in your life.
  • You want to be very confident in your selection of the company who will be completing the project.
  • The contractor should explain their process, the timing, the construction systems as well as the team members you will be working with.

The top things to keep in mind are the dollars you are going to spend, and listening to the contractor to get a feel for their expertise in the pricing area. You want to feel like the contractor has a good feel for the pricing of their subcontractors, and have good and deep relationships with all of the trades who may work on your project.

Duration: 4:58

What not to do when selecting a contractor. In this video you will hear the main things to watch for to identify a bad choice in a contractor. Red flags discussed are:

  • Low ball pricing, or oddly low pricing compared to other contractors
  • Comparing Apples to Apples when you look at bids. A bad contractor can miss expenses in the proposal.
  • Make sure you give a contractor the opportunity to compare their bid with a low cost bid so you can understand why the pricing is so different
  • Do your research, check the Better Business Bureau web site, other web sites like and Angies list. Search the name of the company, and name of the owner (separate searches) to see what public information and reviews are available.
Duration: 3:30

The first meeting is important for starting with a detailed design idea and cost estimate. The better and more information the contractor has, the easier and faster the design and budget process will go.

Pay attention and ask lot’s of questions during the design and budget process. Have all individuals present for the meetings with the contractor, so all ideas are incorporated in to the design and budget.

The budget is going to change as ideas are added or changed. Thats why its so important for a homeowner having as much detail about the design and budget as possible.