Top 5 remodeling mistakes
by Addison Corbin on March 26
1. Skipping the permit office. It might seem like no big deal to skip a permit for knocking a small hole in the wall to add a window to your study, but your city’s Planning and Zoning department is going to disagree pretty hard. There’s a reason that certain types of work require a permit: they’re potentially damaging to the structure or otherwise dangerous and must be inspected for safety of current and future occupants. When it comes to permits, the rules were not made to be broken.
2. Not budgeting enough money for the whole project. When you budgeted for your project, did you consider that box of nails that went missing last week? How about the trim that almost fit, but wasn’t quite the right width and had to be doubled up? There’s always something that gets missed in a remodel budget, they’re notorious for being more costly than originally budgeted as a rule, rather than an exception.
3. Forgetting to allow for waste when buying your supplies. Buying supplies can be harrowing, there is no doubt. You need how many board-feet of lumber for that deck? How many boxes of tile for the new kitchen floor? Whatever you figure, you’re going to want to buy more. You can always take the excess back to the store, especially when dealing with those big home improvement places.
When you’re figuring waste, do it a lot like doing your budget. Add 20 to 30 percent on the top, just to make sure you have enough. This is going to be kind of dependent on the size of your project, though. If it’s a very big project, give yourself lots of room. If you’re building a small thing, like a built-in desk, you can probably pretty easily buy the exact amount of lumber you need on the first go.
And while you’re at it, remember to get extra tile, hardwood or laminate flooring for later. That way, if the new floor or wall is damaged, you can easily fix it with pieces that match.
4. Improper or rushed prep work. Look, everyone knows you’re busy, but if you take on a remodeling project, you’re taking on a labor of love. You’re also taking on a project that’s at least half prep work, maybe more. Someone once said that a remodeling job is only as good as the preparation that you did, and that’s as true a thing as has ever been said.
5. Underestimating the difficulty of a project. This may be the most difficult and most common mistake of them all. Everybody wants to believe that they’re the next Bob Vila, but the truth is that unless you’ve worked in the construction field, you’re probably unprepared for what you’re jumping into. Some projects are great for beginners, like installing small shelves or learning how to paint (provided you have lots of time, this is a job you can’t rush), but others aren’t beginner ready, no matter how easy Vanilla Ice makes it look on TV.
Before you jump into a project, do a little research. Find out what’s involved in installing a zero clearance fireplace, for example. Watch some videos about how they work, how they’re installed and decide for yourself if that’s something you’re ready for. You might be, depending on your home’s configuration and construction style and your own confidence. If not, don’t be afraid to call a professional, like the many qualified folks you’ll find in the HomeKeepr community. It’s better that the job is done right than that you put your home — and yourself — in jeopardy.