Originally Posted by itsstillmatt
San Francisco is a huge pain in the ass for somebody remodeling. Cheap bids and expensive bids often end up reversed when you are actually paying the bills. You need to decide whether you are remodeling for your lifestyle or because you think you are going to get your money back (you won't.) Finishes are much more expensive than mechanical. Maintenance is everything.
Thanks. We've already gotten our feet wet enough to know how frustrating and expensive it is to do work in SF - our downstairs neighbors did some work that resulted in their having to replace our roof deck (long story). We went around and around with the building inspector on whether we could use Trex (no because it is over a structure), epay (only if it was 3" thick, which is not available and would have resulted in a dead load that would exceed the design limits of the building), or redwood (what we wound up with).
I'm interpreting your comment about cheap vs expensive bids as: beware the cheap bid, because you're more likely to hit cost overruns when the rubber hits the road. The expensive bid may take into account more of the actual costs. Is that what you mean, or do you mean "cheap work is expensive to fix"?
We watch some of those shows on HGTV where they cheerily imply that 150% return on remodeling investment is normal and we just scoff at them. We're planning to live here for at least 10 years, so we're doing it for ourselves more than for resale. That probably means we'll spend more on it than we would if we were more strictly concerned with ROI, but we're still concerned about keeping the costs within reason (to the degree that is possible).