A home remodel is a big undertaking for any homeowner, but it can be especially daunting if it’s your first remodeling project every. Many homeowners learn the dos-and-don’ts of home remodeling from first-hand experience, but you can avoid beginner’s mistakes with the right planning and research. In this article, we’ll review five of the most common remodeling errors, and how you can complete your home remodel without major road bumps such as cost and time overruns.
The experience, tools, and training of a professional makes all the difference. Not just “any” professional will do, either. Hiring inexperienced, unqualified, or untrustworthy pros is one of the biggest (and most common) mistakes that homeowners make when remodeling their home. It’s an error that can have a profound impact on the outcome of the entire renovation. A great local contractor will complete the job safely, on-time, and on-budget. In contrast, an unqualified contractor may not meet any of those benchmarks.
In many cases, that “unqualified contractor” ends up being the homeowner themselves. While there are many aspects of a home remodel that you can take on yourself, anything to do with plumbing, electrical, or HVAC work should be handled by a licensed professional. This is true whether you’re adding an electrical outlet and junction box or sloping a shower drain. If you want the peace of mind that comes with work done right, hire an expert.
Cutting corners on cost when it comes to materials, appliances, and other parts of your remodel can be just as risky as hiring inexperienced contractors. Cheap and poorly made materials—countertops, tile, cabinets, carpet, and more—just do not stand up to the regular wear-and-tear of a residential setting. Your home will not only look worn from day one, but you may find yourself needing to replace things prematurely.
Very few homeowners are working with an unlimited budget. Some degree of prioritization is a required part of any home remodeling project. In general, divide your home into wants and needs. Needs are things that are essential to your home: this includes a working kitchen sink, an air conditioner or furnace, or a water heater. You need to budget and plan for these needs first before getting more into wants, which may include a nice tile backsplash, a new dishwasher, or updated decor.
Often, these incorrect priorities boil down to selecting form over function. For example, a homeowner might put money into new floors when it would have been better spent sealing their air ducts, adding attic insulation, and installing a new energy-efficient air conditioner. The new floors might look nice, but the efficiency upgrades are going to impact your summer energy bills for many years to come, make your home more comfortable, and reduce the wear-and-tear on your air conditioner. They may be initially less exciting than something visible and splashy like new tile floors, but those upgrades will pay off in the long run.
Let’s face it: home remodeling can be complex and confusing. But, no one ever said you had to go it alone. Talk to a local pro in your area (or a remodelmate!). Their experience with prior remodels can help point you and your home in the right direction.
Katy Peterson is the communications specialist at Southern Air Heating and Cooling, a professional HVAC and plumbing repair company in northern Louisiana. Katy has been in the industry for almost ten years and enjoys writing about topics that help homeowners keep their home repair at minimum expense.
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