Common Home Improvement Mistakes to Avoid

Dated: November 27 2019

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14 Common Home Improvement Mistakes to Avoid

Most of us like to kick around the idea of improving our living space. Sometimes you just want to update lighting or put a new coat of paint on your tired walls. But what about those bigger ideas that have you dreaming of a new kitchen or reconfiguring your existing walls? Before you begin taking out walls, read on. We’ve rounded up 14 Common Home Improvement Mistakes to Avoid.


1. Underestimating Your Budget

Once you start figuring on a re-model budget you can live with, tack on another 20 percent. Most projects are going to take longer and cost more than you expect. If you don’t have the money, do one of two things – cut back on the scale of your project, or wait until you have the funds needed before you proceed.


2. Acting as Your Own Contractor

You may know construction, electricity, and plumbing, but trying to handle every facet of your renovations while maintaining a full-time job and a family, is probably a mistake. You may find your re-modeling being placed on the “back burner”, which only slows your progress, and adds undue stress to your home and its occupants…otherwise known as your family.


3. Hiring the Wrong Pro

Whether it’s your interior designer or your general contractor, you want to hire a professional who understands your vision and appreciates it. Your professional should be curious about what you want and ask the right questions to get you there.


4. Not Asking for References

Experts generally recommend asking for and contacting at least three of your Contractor’s former clients before you hire. If possible, visit their previous worksites and projects.


5. Thinking the Lowest Bid = Best Bid

“The lowest bid never equals the best job,” says Jonathan Scott, of Property Brothers. Scott recommends bringing in at least three contractors and getting written estimates from each. “Some give cheap quotes just to get the job, then tack things on or cut corners and install low-quality products.” This brings us to number six on our list.


6. Skimping on Quality

“Spend good money on things you touch every day,” says Jocelyn Chiappone, interior designer and owner-principal of Digs Design Company in Newport, Rhode Island. “Like door hardware, doors, faucets, appliances, kitchen cabinets. The tactile experience sends a daily reminder to you and your guests about the solidity and quality of your home.”


7. Using the Wrong Paint for the Job

Pay attention to what type of paint you need for different parts of your home. Take a few minutes to research, but generally speaking, a flat finish should be used for low traffic areas and ceilings, whereas semi-gloss and eggshell should be used for most walls to resist fingerprints and scuff marks. A satin finish is great for bathrooms, and semi-gloss or high gloss for your trim and molding. If you’re feeling daring in your paint choices, check out our article on Pantone Color Of The Year for some inspiration and ideas.


8. Not Paying Attention to What You Can’t See

Subfloors are hidden beneath your home, as is wiring, and pipes. Skimping on these extremely important factors can be catastrophic to your walls, floors, and your entire home. Be sure these are installed properly by professionals using quality material. These things are out-of-sight, but this is not the time or place cut corners.


9. Spending Too Much on Technology

Ask your parents how much they actually used their built-in intercoms, or if they’re happy they remodeled their living room around their VHS collection. Time marches on, and the only constant about technology is that it never stops changing. Don’t design for trends.


The Future Of The “Connected” Home


10. Making Constant Changes as You Go

You want to have what you want, but remember that even minor changes to your plan may end up costing you thousands of dollars you did not budget for. Think long and hard about the ideas you want to implement before you commit them to paper, and it will be easier to stick to your plan.


11. Not Settling on a Timeline with Your Contractor

It’s important that you and your contractor set up a timeline before work begins. You can find construction timeline templates online. Settle on when purchases will be made, when projects will begin and when you anticipate the end of the project. This can help you all stay on the same page.


12. Underestimating Your Flooring Purchase

This is a very common mistake for newbies. Begin by not purchasing your flooring too far in advance. You will be better served knowing exactly how much is required for your remodel. Rule of thumb: purchase 20 percent above what you have calculated. Flooring is subject to breaking, chipping, and miscalculation. Miscalculation leads us to point number 13.


13. Measuring Incorrectly

Another common mistake for home improvement projects is to incorrectly measure things like appliances, counter layouts, doors, etc. This simple fail may have dire financial consequences when your stove doesn’t fit between the countertop and the wall. Remember the old carpenter’s proverb: Measure Twice, Cut Once!


14. Thinking a Permit Isn’t Necessary

We all know the structures we admire as we drive around the neighborhood. We just don’t see the fine print that went into getting them there. Local governments create building setbacks through ordinances and codes that mandate how close buildings should be from the curb or your neighbor’s property lines, just to name a couple. Without a proper building permit, you are running the risk of having to spend tens of thousands of dollars to possibly have to move or dismantle your project.


These are only 14 common home improvement mistakes to avoid. There are others, of course. The idea is to research as much as possible before you dive into the remodeling project. The fewer surprises the better, for everyone involved. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your new space with your family, and hopefully, a little leftover jingle in your pocket.

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Susan Bermudez

GREAT NEWS!! Now licensed and servicing clients in ARIZONA & OREGON!! Originally from Arizona, I moved to Oregon 5 years ago and now returned to my home state with my family. I'm part of one of the ....

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