Whether you plan to do your own work or hire a contractor, you should be familiar with the process for managing a home improvement project. Properly constructed improvements will add to the value of the property and increase your enjoyment of your home or office well into the future.
Hire a Licensed Contractor
If you plan to hire a contractor, check first to make sure he or she is licensed to do the work. Home improvements contractors are required to have a license, even if their work doesn’t require a building permit.
Click on "Licensed Contractors" to see whether your contractor has a valid New Castle County license.
Building Permit Requirements
You can download a document with more complete information on permit requirements and on many standard home improvement projects.Generally, permits are required for:
A new roof requires a permit if 25% or more of the sheathing needs to be replaced
Finishing the basement and adding dormers
New decks and porches
Sheds over 200 square feet
Structural changes including altering existing spaces
Swimming pools - both in-ground and above ground
A building permit is not required to:
Add a fence, sidewalks, and driveways (although a new entrance onto the roadway may require a permit from DelDOT)
Concrete slabs / patios (unless you plan to eventually construct a porch)
Replace kitchen cabinets
Replace roof shingles
Replace windows and doors (using the existing opening without adding structural framing)
If you are unsure whether a permit is required, a quick email or call to the Department of Land Use will provide you with the information.