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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is a Dormer?
In Southeastern Michigan a Dormer is an addition built "on top" of a residence. It can be built on top of a one-story house, on a tri-level house, or it can be an addition added to a home that has a partial second floor.

Can I build a Dormer on my house?
In most cases the answer is "Yes." Ninety-six percent of homes were orginally built strong enough to support the extra weight of a Dormer. Because a Dormer adds another level to the home, it requires a stairway. Stairways can be incorporated into your existing floor plan in a variety of ways.

How much room do I need for a stairway?
The area needed for the stairway often depends on the height of the new Dormer floor. In most cases the stairway requires an area 12 ft. long by 3.5 ft. wide. Keep in mind that stairways can turn, wind, change directions, and they can be built over top of a stairway that already exists. We are experts in the design of incorporating a stairway for Dormer access.

What size Dormer do I need?
A Dormer can be built on a residence in a large variety of shapes and sizes. The size is determined by combining the number of bedrooms, closets, hallways, bathrooms and the upstairs portion of the stairway. Prices are determined primarily by the square footage. If you add the square footage of each element needed you could calculate an approximate square footage.

Do I need an architect to design my project before I can get it built?
You could hire an architect but we are experts in the "Design" and "Construction" of Dormers and Additions. We specialize in all types of home remodeling. Since 1967 we have designed and built over 2,300 Dormers and over 2,100 Additions. We have a staff of specially trained Computer Assisted Design technicians. Our Engineering team can prevent the mishaps that happen when inexperienced designers try to depict a structure that they have never had to construct.

Should I build a Dormer or an Addition?
If you have the area on your lot and you need to make one room a little bigger, you would want to build an Addition. If you wanted a Family room on your first floor, you would build an Addition. Additions are the current choice for extensions of kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms, or a spa area. You must have the necessary space on your property. There are city ordinances, or rules, that apply to each option. Unlike an Addition, a Dormer is built on top of the existing structure. You do not have to sacrifice any of your property. A Dormer can incorporate anything from a huge master suite to four bedrooms with two bathrooms. With a Dormer you could move all of your sleeping areas to the second floor and convert your first floor to kitchen, dining and entertainment. Dormers and Additions are often built at the same time to add living area to the main floor while expanding "up" to a new second floor for even more versatility.

How much does a finished project cost?
The cost of any project is a combination of the sum of all the materials, labor and necessary permit fees. The price associated with doing business with an experienced licensed Home Remodeling Contractor reflects the cost of supervising the project along with the necessary overhead and profit. Whenever you improve your home in any way you are giving it more value. Unlike any purchase you will ever make, money spent to improve your home will gain value. Your home will increase in value the moment you make improvements. By making the wise decision to invest in your home you will be able to eventually sell your home for much more. Consider any money spent on your home as an investment for your future. It is important to invest your money with a trusted company that will design and build your project as quickly and as economically as possible The value and enjoyment will be remembered long after the price is forgotten.

Why do I need three prices?
Consumer protecting agencies recommend three prices to avoid complaints about shady contractors. By telling potential clients to get three prices they feel the buyer will have enough information to make an intelligent decision. A basis of comparison is the actual reason for this decision process. What you need to know about a company is very important. Experience and reputation are so much more important that just having a builder's license. Any person can obtain a builder's license. Becoming a licensed builder requires approximately six months of classroom, a small fee, and the ability to pass a test. A builder's license doesn't mean you know anything about actually designing or building. It takes years of experience to be able to be considered an expert.

Ask questions:

  • A key question would be, "How long have you been in business?" Allstate Construction Co. has been in business since 1967.
  • Ask how many times the company has changed owners. Allstate Construction Co. has had the same owner since the beginning.
  • Ask if the contractor has insurance. A qualified contractor must have the necessary insurances to protect employees who work on jobs. A quality contractor must have crews that are specially trained for the necessary work. Your contractor should employ experienced supervisors to work daily to complete your project in a timely fashion.
  • Ask for a list of references. We have Thousands of happy customers.

Look at some completed jobs. Check out any company with the Better Business Bureau. Call the State of Michigan to see if a company has a good reputation. Call your local Building Department and ask the Building Inspector if there are any complaints against the builder. Three estimates will not protect you. Do a little investigation on your own.

Couldn't I do this project myself?
You are allowed to do any kind of work on your own home. In most communities in our area a homeowner can obtain a Building Permit and do all work. As long as you own the house, you can be the general contractor (builder). Do you have the time? The cost of any project is the combined sum of all the materials, labor and permit fees. You could measure your house and design the renovation you need. You could do all of the shopping, interview and hire your own subcontractors, supervise all aspects of the job, negotiate prices with tradesmen and pay them each as they complete their specific phase, and be responsible for any and all problems. You would also have to be responsible for anyone who might get injured while working for you. You might be better off hiring a qualified Home Remodeling Professional to do the hard parts while you do the easier parts. Below is a brief list of phases required for a finished Dormer with a bathroom. Select items that you could do yourself. Leave the rest to the professionals and save time and money.

Measure House Rough Carpentry Deliver Insulation Ceramic tile mat. Finish Plumbing
Draw Plan Load Dumpster Install Insulation Ceramic labor Order Mirror
Acquire Truss Spec. Exterior Siding Deliver Drywall Finish moldings Order Tub Door
Engineer Supports Exterior Trim Install drywall Pre-hung doors Install Tower Bar & Paper Holder
Apply for Permit Gutters Repair First Floor Underlayment Final Electric Inspection
Pick up Permit Extend Chimney Clean Up Closet Trim Final Plumbing Insp.
Deliver Permit Rough Plumbing Tape Drywall Window Trim Final Heat Inspection
Order Windows Rough Heat Sand Drywall Stairway Trim Final Building Insp.
Order Trusses Rough Electric Prime Walls/Ceiling Finish Carpentry Final Clean up
Make Lumber List Plumbing Inspection Plumbing Fixtures Finish Electric Painting
Order Lumber Heating Inspection Electric Fixtures Install Vanity Carpet
Order Shingles Electric Inspection Vanity cabinet Install Top Furniture
Deliver Dumpster Rough Inspection Counter top Staining Landscaping Repairs

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