Exterior remodeling can be overwhelming, especially if this is your first big renovation project, but it’s worth it. An exterior remodel can completely transform the look of your home, better protect you from unwanted damages, and lower your energy bills while raising your home value.

When you start the process, you may have several questions: Where do I even begin? How much do I budget for each project? What is the best order to do each part of the renovation?

Our team at Big Fish Contracting has created an easy step-by-step plan with these questions in mind, so you can take on your upcoming remodel more confidently.

1. Make an Exterior Remodeling Plan – Why? What? How?

Start by identifying what exterior remodeling services you’re hoping to have done. Have a vision of why you are remodeling your home’s exterior, what remodeling services you want to be done, and how you want your home to look when it’s done.

Common reasons for an exterior remodel include:

  • Required maintenance/repair
  • Planned expansion
  • Modernizing the appearance
  • Boosting curb appeal
  • Increasing resale value

As you create your plan, decide on your priorities. Establish what you actually need vs. what you want? What’s a must-have-now, what’s a would-be-nice, and what’s a dream service that could be done later? Get specific about what you want and how you want it done so you can budget properly.

2. Set a Budget

If you don’t budget realistically for your plan, you could see costs add up much higher than anticipated or you may not get the value you were expecting.

As you set your budget, consider the vision and priorities of what service you want done for your home, the timeline for the project, and what you want in a contractor.

A complete exterior renovation can cost anywhere from $20K-$100K. There are four main factors that affect the cost of a remodel:

  • Contractor fees and deposits
  • Material and transportation costs
  • Labor costs
  • Costs associated with unforeseen project needs

Take some time to talk with your potential contractors about each of these factors. They should be straightforward about their experience and plans with each of these budgetary needs. To start the budgeting process, we recommend you get quotes from three or four local, licensed and insured contractors to define the scope of work and budget range you’re working with and to ensure you find the best balance of price and quality.

Bonus Tip: Look for contractors that do complete exterior renovations including windows, framing, roofing, siding, gutters, and carpentry. Companies that are limited to just one or two elements such as window installers or roofing-only companies will require more scheduling, paperwork, contracts, and payment schedules. Find a contractor who offers all the services you need – they can take a more holistic approach to your project which will help you stay on top of the details.

3. Find a Contractor You Can Trust

Trustworthiness is essential when choosing the right contractor for your exterior renovation project.

We’ve put together some important criteria to consider when choosing your contractor:


Your contractor should have multiple years of experience with photos and positive reviews to correspond with their years in business. Also, ensure the contractor you’re considering has specific experience with the type of project or service you’re looking to have completed.


Don’t make your decision based solely on the price of the quote; a lower price can often mean lower-quality work, which may mean you’ll have to spend more money on repairs later down the line. A high-quality contractor will consider the proper labor, materials, and insurance needed when preparing a quote.


The most valuable reviews will be by word-of-mouth, referrals from local supply companies, and homeowner-to-homeowner review sites such as Angie’s List, Yelp, or Google. While surveying these websites, it is important to remember that even the best companies will have some negative feedback mixed in. Rather than looking for 100% perfect ratings, look for the overall impression of each company’s reviews.


Your contractor should be fully licensed by the state, be fully insured, and should have a high rating with the Better Business Bureau. You should also visit the contractor’s website to find out whether they are a factory-certified vendor of quality materials.

Communication and Connection

Your contractor should communicate well with you, return your calls, send you all requested information and documents, help you understand the scope of the project, and make you feel like a priority. If someone gives you a bad gut feeling, don’t hire them. Hire a contractor you feel comfortable talking to, doing business with, and letting work on your home.

4. Know Your Order of Operations

Your largest projects and/or your most urgent repairs should always come first. Major projects will alter the requirements of smaller projects while successful repairs can help protect you and your home from incurring further damages during your other renovations.

After your large and/or urgent projects, your exterior renovation process will typically go on as follows:

1. Roof and gutters
2. Windows
3. Siding
4. Soffit and fascia

A complete exterior renovation is no small undertaking, but when done correctly, it can completely change your home’s look, function, and value.

Here are few examples of the exterior transformations Big Fish Contracting has done throughout Southeastern Wisconsin:

before and after exterior home remodeling project
before and after exterior remodeling project
before and after exterior remodeling of a home
before and after split-level exterior remodeling project
before and after traditional home exterior remodeling project

Have more questions about your exterior remodel? Give us a call – we’re glad to help!