Home improvement projects are expensive and time-consuming, especially if you don’t do them correctly. While some homeowners may feel confident in their abilities to remodel their homes themselves, some projects are better for the pros.
Even with a background in electrical work or a large budget to complete all your plans, a lot can go wrong. Play it smart with your home’s renovation by avoiding these seven worst mistakes sure to ruin your project.
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1. Tackling Home’ Renovations Without Experience
Perhaps unsurprisingly, many people chose to tackle home improvement projects during 2020’s coronavirus pandemic.
According to one study, 78% of Americans improved their remodeling skills, including 21% who learned to use a drill and 13% who picked up a table saw for the first time. However, just because you figure out how to operate power tools doesn’t mean you necessarily should.
Depending on the size and scope of your home’s renovation, it may be best to leave the heavy lifting for the professionals. Imagine the financial and building setbacks you’ll face if you accidentally remove a load-bearing wall or cut through plumbing and electrical.
2. Rushing to Hire a Contractor
Admitting your lack of remodeling experience and hiring a professional contractor is preferable and will ensure the project gets done. Just be sure to take your time to hire the right contractor for the job.
Seek multiple estimates from local professionals and get everything in writing right away. Hiring local contractors makes communication more efficient should problems arise. Local contractors are also more familiar with the building codes in your community.
Review their previous work and ask family, friends and neighbors for their opinions and feedback if they’ve worked with them before. Perhaps most importantly, check to ensure the contractor has current licensure and insurance.
3. Setting an Unrealistic Budget
Many homeowners jump headfirst into renovations with a budget simply too small to finish the project. If you’re unsure how much to save up and set aside for your renovation, research the average costs for your home improvement project and refer to someone with expertise.
Generally, experts warn against setting budgets that surpass the cost versus value of the item and its benefit in the home. For instance, most kitchens are worth 15% to 25% of a home’s value — meaning if you live in a house worth $250,000, you should try to keep your kitchen renovation budget between $37,000 and $50,000.
Remember your budget has to be higher than the cost of materials and labor. It should also include a suitable amount for any unforeseen expenses emerging during demolition.
4. Purchasing Low-Quality Materials
What’s the point in a home renovation if you install cheap materials? Renovating your home is costly, but investing in high-quality materials will prevent you from needing to replace them in a couple of years.
Building materials and design finishes are two areas where you shouldn’t skimp. Also, consider your location and whether any features are worth spending the extra money on.
Say you live somewhere sunny and hot most of the year; whereas traditional glass storm doors allow air to escape between the cracks, impact doors improve your home’s energy efficiency with thicker glass and stronger framing to lock in air tightly.
5. Choosing Trendy Finishes
Remember when all-white kitchens and word signs were all the rage in home interiors? It’s hard to believe that was just a few years ago.
If your design tastes include white finishes upon white walls and decorative hanging art that says “Love lives here,” more power to you. Applying a fresh coat of paint and swapping out pictures is easy enough.
However, you don’t want to get stuck with expensive trendy finishes bound to go out of style before you even have time to get tired of them.
Trend forecasting is a science. Experts turn to actual data and scour social media to gain insight into potential market trends in interior design. As a homeowner looking to renovate, figuring out which trends are sustainable long-term — such as variations of timeless neutrals — is much more conducive and easier on your wallet.
6. Measuring Incorrectly
Before starting any DIY home improvement project, take measurements and retake them to ensure accuracy. Sizing that are off even a quarter of an inch can cause significant construction delays and lead you to waste money on materials that don’t fit.
Considering how today’s construction industry faces rising costs and substantial labor and material shortages, the last thing you want to do is go over your budget and set your timeline back even further.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, over 90% of builders have reported materials shortages — more widespread than any other time since the 1990s. According to their May 2021 report, plywood, appliances, windows and doors were among the industry’s most significant shortages.
A lack of laborers in the field and supply chain has dramatically slowed shipping operations. If you want your project to stay on schedule, order the correct sizes and quantities of materials and equipment as soon as possible.
7. Underestimating Safety
Renovating your home is exciting and you may feel tempted to dive right in with a DIY home improvement project. However, you can seriously injure yourself if you underestimate the safety risks of remodeling your home.
According to a study conducted by Clearsurance, lacerations are the most common home construction injury — accounting for 127,486 visits to the emergency room in 2020. Additionally, 24,534 home improvement injuries required a hospital stay.
While renovating your home will always carry safety risks, it’s essential to take precautions to protect your body from physical harm. Wear protective clothing like safety goggles, gloves and noise-cancellation headphones. You should also sport closed-toe shoes at all times at the construction site.
It’s worth noting three out of four construction-zone fires occur at residential properties, with cooking, electrical and lighting equipment as the leading causes. Ensure you shut down all equipment and that the worksite is cleaned up at the end of the day to prevent fires from starting.
Avoid Common Mistakes When Renovating Your Home
There are many ways home improvement can go wrong. However, avoiding unnecessary mistakes can prevent several worst-case scenarios.
Take your time in scoping out the details of your remodeling project and work with a professional to ensure your home’s renovation goes smoothly.