Seven Common Mistakes to Avoid on Any Remodeling Project
Watching HGTV is inspiring lots of remodeling activity, but with 60 years of home remodeling experience we've seen seven common (and potentially expensive) pitfalls for you to avoid on your next remodeling project:
1) What's the Plan?
The old saying "fail to plan and you plan to fail" is especially true when it comes to a remodeling project. Planning includes a consideration of your main objectives, whether it's to raise the resale value of your home or accommodate the needs of a growing family, or making changes to "age in place". Whatever your objectives, do some research to see whether or not you'll be overbuilding for your neighborhood and what kind of renovation projects can give you a reasonable return on your investment. Having a plan in mind will help you decide how much time and money to put into your project.
2) Jumping on the Latest Trends
While updating the look of your home is usually a key objective, be careful to avoid trendy fads that will "date" your home in just a few years. (Remember when "shag carpet" was a thing? Diagonal wood work.) If you're thinking of remodeling to improve resale value it's best to avoid overly "unique" looks and bold statements that may have limited appeal to a potential buyer.
3) Spending Too Much (or Too Little)
An extensive remodeling project can run tens (to hundreds) of thousands of dollars that may or may not be able to be recouped when you sell your home if your price is significantly higher than nearby homes. At the same time, investing too little in your project may even worse if you end up with a poorly designed, poorly built remodel consisting of sub-standard materials. It's important to have a budget for your project that balances these factors, with some wiggle room for the unexpected cost overruns. (Expect the unexpected and you won't be disappointed.)
4) Buying Materials Before You Need Them
Purchasing materials while they're "on sale" is tempting but only if you don't have a safe, secure place to store them before the actual work begins. Consider: If you store them in your home will they be "in the way"? Will they need to be moved to make room for the work to be done? What's the likelihood of the materials being damaged in the interim?
5) Using the Wrong Paint
Picking colors for your renovation is part of the fun, but picking the right paint will make a big difference in how well your project holds up to the rigors of daily life. Consider: Flat, gloss and semi-gloss finishes each have pros and cons. Flat paint is great for ceilings and low traffic areas. It tends to better hide imperfections in the finish but isn't as durable or easy to clean as semi-gloss or gloss paints. Bathrooms, kitchens and higher traffic areas will be better served with semi-gloss paints. If you want a finish with some "shine" as well as cleanability, gloss may be the answer.
6) Inaccurate Measurements
The old saying "measure twice, cut once" applies to your remodeling project as well. Getting accurate measurements down on paper will help to insure cabinets and appliances fit where intended and can help you avoid expensive, time consuming "re-do" work. And it's easy to avoid: Measure twice. Better yet, three times!
7) Choosing the Right Contractor
If your project involves skills beyond the scope of the typical DIYer, selecting a qualified contractor can be the most critical decision of all. Especially so if your project involves electrical, plumbing or HVAC work, it's important to work with professionals to insure a successful completion of your project. This involves comparing quotes and checking references as well as verifying insurance and state or local licensing requirements. Experience counts too. Ask how long your contractor has been in business. Decades of experience serving the same community says a lot about their qualifications and customer service.