We’ve all been there, coming home to a new magazine subscription with pictures that make your house feel inadequate to your own. Don’t fret but also don’t whip out your utility belt just yet, doing your homework before starting a project will greatly help you avoid any slip ups. Anytime you rush something out of impulse or urge results in regrets ranging from higher costs to project delays due to mistakes. Here are a few remodeling mistakes to avoid if you want to get this thing done in one shot.
The first mistake that most of us make when we get a great idea to remodel is not getting a permit. It may save you money up front, but it will end up being a big mistake down the line when it comes down to getting a visit from your friendly city home inspector. The fines range in numbers depending on the city and is at least hundreds of more dollars than a permit would cost. Also if you do something like add a room to your house without a permit then the additional room will not be included by an appraisal when it comes time to sell the house. So long story short, you should quite frankly speak to your city’s buildings office or even your contractor in terms of permits before starting anything.
The second mistake, and I see a lot of this happening once people weigh their budget, is buying cheap cabinets. When working with a contractor, there is nothing more frustrating than working with cheap, flimsy cabinets that are difficult to secure in place. If it’s too good to be true then it probably is, sure it may look like expensive cabinets but at that price you’ll be spending more time at the hardware store getting more tools to secure the darn thing or even returning it to try a different batch than actually progressing your remodel. The best way to solve this is to talk to your contractor, they have discounts and know what quality cabinets are. Make sure the cabinet hardware is also up to standards – the handles, pulls, rails, gas shocks, and other “mechanical” parts of cabinetry are just as important as the surface material. Quality hardware can make the difference between hard-to-open, misaligned cabinets, and cabinets that are a pleasure to use, day after day.
Not hiring a contractor for a big job can be a nightmare when you don’t know what’s really behind those walls, unless you have a background in any of this a lot could go wrong. The general contractor is the brains behind the operation that knows who to hire to make the job successful, the last thing you want is uncoordinated sub contractors taking over your house. Before you know it the tile worker will show up before the plumber even has a chance to fix and move any plumbing that may need to get dealt with before the back splash goes up. Besides mis-communication hiring these people yourself will never give you a way to determine whether you have received a fair price for the work that was done, without a contractor you could end up paying up to twice as much.
Last but not least, the bane of any remodeling project is… incorrect measurements! While measuring a square room may be child’s play, measuring the entire kitchen with the back splash and cabinets will definitely give you room for error. If you’re off by even an inch, the cabinets will have a gap, if you’re off an inch and buy the wrong fridge size you’re going to delay the project while you think of ideas to cover up the mess or wait for returns and deliveries again. Even measuring something like a window frame can be quite a challenge due to any designs, ridges, and edges that seem simple but in the end give you the wrong numbers.
Finally this far into your thinking process and ready to find the contractor? Great, just be wary and do your homework if you don’t want to become a statistic of hiring a bad contractor. Recommendations from friends, colleagues, and family members are a great source for finding reliable contractors. In addition, online review sites such as Angie’s List and ServiceMagic offer plenty of information about the company, along with vetted reviews and ratings. The home remodeling site Houzz has 1000’s of profiles of design & remodeling professionals, with reviews and ratings from the Houzz community, which are also vetted (reviewers must provide actual project location, budget, etc.).
It’s very important to make sure that your contractor is licensed and insured. Don’t just make sure he has the name of the insurance carrier, but also call the insurance carrier and verify that the contractor has valid and current coverage. Once you have decided the quality suits your needs you can relax and take all of the guesswork out of your new project and finally get started on it!