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How to Manage the Budget for Your Home Remodel: An Interview with Donald Gilmore of Gilmore Construction

By Donald Gilmore

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

I am a residential remodeling company with 6 full time employees. I started as a carpenter's helper in 1972 and started my own business in 1989. We do additions, decks, kitchens, basements, sunrooms, roofing, siding and replacement windows. Some of my men have been with me for more than 20 years.

What is one of the biggest challenges that people have when they're trying to stick to their remodeling budget?

I give my customers realistic allowances for things like showers, faucets, windows, doors and other things. They have a hard time matching the allowances and usually go over the allowances. They also see what good work my men do and they want them to do more things that are not in the contract. Maybe their budget was more than they told me.

How do you and your clients typically decide on the budget for a home remodeling project?

My client usually have a budget in mind how much they want to spend on a project. They have no idea how much things costs and how they prices have gone up in the last 10 years. Roofing shingles used to cost $35.00 for 100 sq. ft. Now they know about $100.00 for the same amount for the same 100 sq. ft. I try to work with want what my clients want to do and then let them decide what they can afford to do.

What are some of the key steps that can help homeowners avoid financial surprises during their remodel?

There are always things that pop up when you start to open walls up. If they have any information on the house like plans, past remodeling projects or the kind on siding that was installed in the past, it helps to know the product was warranted or still available. If they want an addition and the siding is not available any more, it could mean more money.

What advice would you give a homeowner who has a limited budget and is choosing from different bids for their building project?

Always check on all contractor's past customers, does he have insurance, is he a registered contractor, is he local and how long he been in business.

What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

My office # is 814-355-0911, my website ( that I have had since the 90's) is and my email is

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