A Guide to Home Renovation and Remodeling Terms

Home renovation and remodeling is an exciting process. From designing a kitchen remodel to choosing the perfect bathroom flooring, you’ll learn a lot along the way. Despite the excitement, many aspects of the process can seem intimidating at first. Even the terms used in the renovation industry can be confusing at times.

Plan a better whole house renovation by knowing exactly what you’re talking about. By learning common industry terms, you’ll be better able to communicate with contractors to get the results that you want.

Here are the most important home renovation terms and what they mean.


For any significant home remodeling Des Moines, blueprints will be required. These documents are produced by architects and engineers to illustrate the underlying plan for a remodel. These are technical documents and highly detailed, featuring dimensions, materials, and the geometry of your improvements.

Accurate and detailed blueprints will ensure that your finished project comes out exactly as intended.

3D Modeling

Before you get to the blueprints, you’ll need to settle on a design. You can work closely with home renovation and remodeling experts to explore different concepts for your improvements. Visualizing these improvements was once difficult, and relied on physically comparing varied materials, photographs of similar builds, and artist impressions.

3D modeling is the evolution of that process. Home designers and architects can now produce highly detailed computer models so that you can see changes almost as soon as they are conceptualized. The technology reduces the time and cost that it takes to design home improvements.

Building Inspector

Some improvements will require permits and approval before work can commence. A building inspector works for the city government, and reviews blueprints to ensure that remodeling Des Moines is in line with existing building codes and other regulations. A building inspector will also review completed work.

Not every job requires a permit. Smaller home improvements that don’t change the structure, wiring, or plumbing, can usually be completed without bringing a building inspector into the project. If you do need any permits, the best Des Moines contractors will take care of the paperwork for you.

Home Footprint

The footprint of your home is the actual area it takes up on the ground. Think of it as the top down dimensions of your home, including the main structure, attached garage, and porches or decks etc.

Some Des Moines remodeling projects will require a change to the house footprint. A larger footprint usually means having more functional living space, so you could potentially increase the value of your home.

Keep in mind that the footprint is different to the functional square footage of your home. I.e., a two story home will have more actual floorspace than its footprint.

In most jurisdictions, the footprint only relates to areas that are covered by roofing. Decking and other features may not be calculated in the footprint of a home.


While this term might sound drastic, in most cases the actual demolition work will be quite tame. Demolition simply relates to any process where existing structure or materials will be removed. If contractors pull up an old floor in your bathroom, this will be considered demolition. If you remove a kitchen wall to open your living space, this is also considered demolition.

This process clears space for renovations or remodeling to begin. It’s one of the earliest stages of any project. The exact amount of demolition required will be relative to the improvements that you have planned.

General Contractor

The general contractor is the primary point of contact who is responsible for overseeing the entire remodeling or renovation process. In most cases, the general contractor will take on the role of project manager.

The best general contractors will be experts in construction and renovation. They also need to possess strong organization and communication skills. Choosing and vetting a general contractor is one of the most important things you will do when beginning home renovation or remodeling.


While a general contractor may perform some of the physical work on site, most tasks will be carried out by subcontractors. These are specialty contractors who are hired to perform a specific function. Plumbers and electricians are examples of subcontractors.

When working with a full-service home improvement company you won’t need to hire subcontractors directly. Your general contractor will choose the most suitable professionals based on the work that needs to be performed.


This term relates to any professional that has specialized in a trade. Roofing, tiling, flooring, and drywall tradespeople are common on home remodeling and renovation projects. They are hired as subcontractors to work on your home.


Every home needs a strong footing to ensure that it will last for generations. Footing is the base structure of a home foundation. It is a large mass of reinforced concrete that prevents movement of the completed structure. Any significant additions to your home will need reinforced footing.

This is the first element of the load bearing structure.

Load Bearing

Load bearing is a term used to describe any part of a structure that supports the weight of overlying parts. Footing is the first element, followed by the rest of the foundation. Other load bearing elements can include pillars, beams, and walls.

Load bearing elements need to be carefully considered when planning remodeling Des Moines. Major structural changes or additions will need to be considered carefully in terms of the load bearing elements that they will require, and how they might affect elements that are already in place.

Design Build Company

When a home renovation, remodeling, or construction company is design build, it means that it handles everything from design and architecture, right through to the physical work. As a homeowner, it’s always beneficial to work with a design build company, because you will deal with a single point of contact throughout every stage of the project.

This makes for a more convenient remodel or renovation, and it can also ensure that costs are kept low through consolidation and close management of different services.

Gutting a Room

Some projects will call for the gutting of a room. This simply refers to the process of removing everything inside the room, right down to the framing and subfloor.


Flooring replacement is a popular home renovation project in Des Moines and throughout America. What some homeowners don’t realize is that there’s an entire subfloor beneath the materials that you actually see. The subfloor is mounted directly to the joists, and it ensures stability of the final flooring material. You may need to replace the subfloor on some projects if it has deteriorated or become water damaged.


Finishing is a process that converts any space into usable living area with walls, floors, and a ceiling. Basement finishing is the most popular type, although its also common to finish attics, garages, and even garden sheds.

Finishing is a valuable home improvement because it can give you more space for an expanding family. Finishing could also increase the value of your home.


Here’s a term that usually stumps homeowners when it is seen on an invoice or work order. R&R simply refers to remove and replace. If your plan a kitchen remodel, then the R&R would cover the removal and replacement of cabinets, fixtures, hardware, appliances and other features.


Some home improvement projects are relatively simple and low cost. When retrofitting is an option, you will usually be able to minimize your renovation bill. Retrofitting is the process of directly replacing a feature with a more modern solution. Installing direct replacement windows is a form of retrofitting. Installing a new air conditioner but retaining the same ducting system is also a form of retrofitting.

Retrofitting is also seen when upgrading plumbing. If you have older pipes that are worn and in need of replacement, you could have a contractor retrofit new ones without actually changing the basic design or layout of your system.

HVAC System

Has your contractor recommended that you upgrade or replace your HVAC system? Homeowners rarely use this acronym, but it is common throughout commercial and industrial environments. It refers to Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. If you have a mini split system at home, it’s a type of HVAC system. Furnaces and air conditioners are HVAC systems too.

Extensions to your home could require additions, such as ducting installation. If your unit is incorrectly sized for your home, then it may need to be replaced. Older HVAC systems can be replaced with more modern ones to improve efficiency and comfort. While a new HVAC system might seem like a costly investment, you could actually save money over the lifetime of your home by choosing a system that uses less energy.

Plan a Successful Home Renovation or Remodel

You know the jargon, now it’s time to talk to professionals in the industry and build your dream home. You can turn run down or outdated living spaces into ones that you’ll be proud of. For a home that matters, you can work with expert contractors at HomeWorx Iowa.

We are a complete design build home renovation and remodeling company, covering everything from the smallest odd jobs, right up to large home improvement projects. We manage your project from planning and design, all the way through to installation and modification.

Contact us today to start exploring your options. You deserve the best home possible, and the team at HomeWorx can turn your concepts into reality.

Home Renovation and Your Plumbing: What You Need to Know

Beginning your home renovation can be an exciting process, but that excitement can soon turn to stress if you haven’t got the planning right. Out of all the considerations to make when renovating, plumbing is one of the most important. If you’re working anywhere near your kitchen or bathroom, you’ll need to factor your pipes into your plans.

Before you get started on your next home renovation project, make sure you keep these four essential plumbing tips in mind.

Stay Organized When Renovating a Bathroom or Kitchen

Organization is key whether you’re performing a whole house renovation or improving just a single room. Your plumbing plan needs to include pipe layout and any materials that will be necessary. Failing to plan ahead could result in costly changes to your plumbing, which may set your project schedule back.

Don’t assume that plumbing can be ignored if you’re not working in your kitchen or bathroom. You could run into setbacks if you’re renovating in bedrooms or living spaces that are adjacent to pipes.

During planning you should also consider any convenient upgrades that could be made. For example, if you’re replacing flooring in a room where pipes will become accessible, you could take the opportunity to winterize with new insulation. This will give you peace of mind in the colder months to come.

Working with professional home renovation contractors is a must. You’ll get expert advice and recommendations right from the beginning of the project.

Check if You Need to Transfer Any of Your Plumbing

If you’re going with a basic remodel, then you probably won’t have to move any of your pipes. However, if you’re installing new vanities or sinks, or even a new dishwasher, you may need to route new plumbing to connect everything up.

This isn’t something that you want to discover when you’re in the middle of the project. Plumbing adds both cost and time, so this needs to be accounted for as early as possible. Again, planning and organization is key here.

Plan Around Your Appliance Choices

You’ll need to consider your plumbing as you choose your appliances. Distinctive features and new fixtures could affect your plumbing layout. Examples include replacing a single vanity with a double sink vanity, moving your kitchen sink, installing a water heater, shower, toilet, dishwasher, washing machine, and so on.

Home renovation is also the perfect time to think about efficiency. While planning your plumbing, keep your water usage in mind. High efficiency toilets, showerheads, and faucets could all reduce your utility costs over time. You could potentially save thousands over the lifetime of your home by connecting modern fixtures to your plumbing system.

Set a Budget Before any Home Renovation Project

Finally, we come to budget. This is something that should never be overlooked, and you should set yours at the very beginning of the project. A budget will guide your improvements and material choices throughout planning and installation. It will show you exactly where you may need to compromise, and where you might be able to spend a little extra to get some high-end fixtures or accessories.

Overbudgeting is also something that’s recommended in most cases. Experienced home renovation experts and even DIY enthusiasts will tell you that an extra 15% to 20% is usually the magic figure. This doesn’t mean that you must go into the project expecting to pay more than the original renovation quote – it simply ensures that you won’t be caught off guard when something unexpected pops up.

Planning is your best defense against cost overruns. Working with a reliable contractor will keep unplanned costs to a minimum, or even eliminate them in some cases.

Get Better Home Renovations Des Moines

You want your home renovations to add lasting value, comfort, and beauty to your living spaces. It makes sense that you should work with the best contractors Des Moines.

If you want a stress-free journey from design to completion, it’s time to talk to the team at HomeWorx Iowa. We offer support throughout all stages of whole home renovation and will manage your project from end to end. Superior craftsmanship and highly talented professionals ensure that you get the best results with nothing missed in the planning stages, including your plumbing!

Contact us today for better home renovation Des Moines.

Your Easy Guide to a Bathroom Remodel Des Moines

A renovation or bathroom remodel Des Moines will give your home more functionality with increased beauty and value. Having a basic outline on hand will ensure that the process goes smoothly and without major setbacks.

Before you get started on your project, make sure you’ve read our easy guide to bathroom remodeling.

Start with a Design

Every successful bathroom remodel projects begins with a design. Take the time to consider your needs and what you want to get from your new bathroom. This step is critical, and you should never rush it or settle for any major compromises of your vision.

You can get started by simply listing your wants and needs. Write down what is lacking in your current bathroom, and then list the features that you’d want from a new bathroom.

Start with the large improvements, but don’t overlook any of the smaller features that can add convenience. Additions like heated towel rails or even robe hooks might seem small, but they’re actually quite important to the overall look, feel, and practicality of your bathroom.

Some of the most critical elements to include in your design list are:

  • A complete color scheme for your bathroom, including walls, floors, fixtures and hardware.
  • Fixture styles, including your bath, shower, toilet, vanity etc.
  • Lighting and ventilation.
  • Floor material. Tiles are ideal for bathrooms. If you like the look of hardwood but want a more affordable and moisture-stable material, consider engineered wood flooring.
  • Storage is key to a comfortable and functional bathroom. Include options like shelves, cabinets, or storage closets if you have the space.
  • Heated flooring may be a feature that you want in your bathroom. Include this in your design list so that you can budget accordingly.
  • Consider energy efficiency when choosing your fixtures. High efficiency toilets, showerheads, and faucets could reduce your utility costs over the lifetime of your bathroom.

All your desired additions can be incorporated into your design. Visualizing this yourself can be difficult if you’re new to remodeling. Magazines or pictures found on the internet could give you ideas about overall aesthetic.

If you want to fully visualize your new bathroom, it’s recommended that you work with Des Moines Contractors who can provide a complete 3D model of your improvements. 3D modeling will provide a true to life representation of your bathroom before any work begins.

Decide When Des Moines Contractors are Needed

Many homeowners decide to go the DIY route when making minor improvements in their homes. A bathroom remodel or renovation requires a significant amount of work, much of which is a major step up from smaller home improvement jobs. You’ll need to decide whether it’s best to do the work alone or hire a team of Des Moines Contractors.

There’s more than cost involved in this decision.

  • Unless you’re a qualified professional, you’ll need a contractor to complete the plumbing and wiring in your new bathroom.
  • Work like framing, installing baths and showers, adding insulation, or laying a heated floor is best left to professional installers. Precision is important when making structural changes or installing large fixtures. Choosing to hire professionals for your bathroom remodel will ensure that your improvements last for many years to come.
  • Cabinets and countertops should be professionally measured and installed. Work that could take you days would be completed by contractors in a single day in most cases.
  • Hanging drywall and finishing walls with paint or tiles could be completed using DIY methods, but the results could vastly differ from what professionals can provide. If you want a luxury aesthetic with no imperfections, then its best to avoid DIY in this area.
  • Time is also something to consider. A professional team can come in and complete your renovations or remodeling in a relatively brief period when compared to DIY. Your bathroom is one of the most critical rooms in your home and taking it out of service will severely disrupt your lifestyle.

There are some jobs that are suitable for DIY if you have the time. Removing tiles, existing cabinetry, and even large fixtures could be something that you could complete in the weekend with the help of friends or family. This could reduce the cost of your project, and then you could bring the professionals in for the rest of the work.

Choosing a professional remodel could even be more affordable overall. Large home improvement firms have access to wholesale pricing on everything from tiles to bathroom vanities. A professional designer will know how to achieve your desired look on the lowest possible budget. Working with professionals could even help to limit cost overruns, because all the work and improvements will be agreed in the initial contract.

Check Your Permits

A small bathroom remodeling or renovation project probably won’t need any special permits. This is especially true if you won’t be changing anything structural, and if you’ll use your existing plumbing and wiring.

For larger remodels – the ones that will bring lasting value and convenience to your home – you’ll probably need some permits from local government offices. Navigating the rules could be time consuming and might not be something that you’re interested in doing. This is another reason why it’s usually more convenient to work with a professional team that can take care of the whole project from end to end.

Plan Your Budget

Your initial budget can be developed during the planning stage. Des Moines Contractors will set out a build plan as well as a payment schedule. You’ll usually work from a starting deposit that covers materials and labor that are needed immediately. The remaining total will be dispersed over the duration of the project.

You can also finance a bathroom remodel through a longer payment plan. The team at HomeWorx Iowa will develop a payment and financing plan for your dream bathroom. If you want to talk about your options, call us today!

Biggest Cost Factors in a Bathroom Remodel Des Moines

The design, size, and features that you add to your bathroom will influence the cost. The following are some of the most popular additions, including the average amount that they would add to your final remodeling bill.

  • Bathtub installation ranges (on average) between $1,000 and $4,500. Cost depends on the type and design of the tub. Placement and reframing costs will also be a factor.
  • Shower installation typically costs between $1,000 and $5,000. Your specific cost will depend on the shower itself, and any other materials that are needed to complete your desired aesthetic. You may wish to tile your shower installation or even add a ventilation fan above it.
  • Custom Cabinet installation could range from $1,000 to $2,500 depending on materials used. This is the average cost for six cabinets. Choosing pre-manufactured vanities will always be more affordable than custom cabinetry, but you might not get the unique aesthetic that you’re looking for.
  • Countertops could cost you as little as $70, and as much as $2,000 in a large bathroom. Natural materials like marble and stone will come with the highest price tags. Quartz is a good option if you want a premium look and feel on a reasonable budget.
  • Flooring could cost up to $2000, with most of this cost coming from labor.
  • Toilets can be purchased for as little as $400, or as much as $1000 for a fully featured designer toilet. You don’t need to spend a lot on this fixture, but you should aim for something in the mid-range. This will ensure that you get a long-term investment with a reasonable warranty period.

These costs are based on averages from home improvement projects across the United States. Working closely with professional bathroom remodelers will ensure that you get the best quote for your preferred bathroom design.

Bathroom Remodel with The Best Contractors in Iowa

Comprehensive planning and expert project management will result in a better bathroom remodel. If you’re ready to get started on a remodel, if you’re still looking for advice, or if you simply need a quote, you can talk to the team at HomeWorx Iowa.

Contact us today for a stress-free remodel. We’ll help you maximize your budget, creating a dream bathroom that is functional, modern, and exceptionally beautiful.