DIY Renovations Gone Wrong: 10 Common Mistakes

Some projects should be left to the professionals

The home improvement shows make it look so easy, don’t they? Homeowners planning to renovate first talk to some sort of design expert, the ideas get sketched out, and then people show up to start the work. Of course, there’s the obligatory shot of the owners sporting colorful hardhats and wielding a sledgehammer, but aside from a few bumps along the way, at the end of the episode, voila! The new kitchen/bedroom/basement is done and ready to be used. Simple, right?

In fact, many homeowners see just how simple renovations on TV appear to be and decide that they can do them themselves. The problem, however, is that once the excitement of a new project wears off, often people realize they’re in over their heads. If you plan to embark on a DIY renovation, here are some common mistakes you will definitely want to avoid:

Poor budgeting

Before you do anything, you need to create a budget for your renovation. Even seemingly small projects can be expensive, so you have to be prepared to spend some money. But, with the proper planning, you can stick to a budget. A good rule of thumb, however, is to take that number and add about 20 percent to it so you’ll have some wiggle room.

Using cheap materials

In order to keep their remodeling budgets low, many people opt to use cheap building materials. While great in the short-term, low-quality materials wear out faster, which means they’ll need to be replaced sooner, negating the money that was saved.

Not measuring correctly

Nothing will derail a home renovation faster than finding out you were off with your measurements. Even being off a fraction of an inch can have a huge impact, especially when it comes to fitting in appliances. This is why you should always measure multiple times and have somebody else verify your numbers.

Getting the materials too early

Because you’re probably eager to get going on your project, you may already have your eye on some flooring or appliances that would look great in your home. Or perhaps there’s a big sale going on and now’s your chance to save money. But before you buy anything, you have to be sure that your plans are finalized. Knowing exactly what you need – and exactly what will fit – will enable you to make the right purchases.

Ignoring what’s underneath

Everybody wants their home to look amazing, which is why so much attention is put on beautiful fixtures, countertops, and other things on the surface. Problems can arise, however, if things below the surface are neglected. Often during a renovation, when things get torn out, underlying issues related to pipes or wires are discovered. The easy thing to do is ignore them, but almost certainly they’ll need to be addressed later on, which means potentially wrecking your renovation.

Focusing on trends

What’s popular today may not be tomorrow, which is why it pays to go with styles that will stand the test of time. This is important for a couple of reasons. First, when a trendy design goes away, suddenly you may not be so happy with all the work you put in. Those purple bedroom walls and terrazzo-tiled kitchen you were once so crazy about are now starting to become eyesores. Secondly, if you will be putting your home up for sale in the future, dated styles will probably lower its value. This is why it always pays to stick to tried and true designs.

Choosing the wrong type of paint

If part of your renovation involves painting, you’ve probably collected dozens of those little paint sample cards you get at the hardware store. And while color is important, you also need to make sure that the type of paint you select is appropriate. For example, because matte finishes don’t have a shine and aren’t easy to clean, using them on walls is a mistake. Ceilings are a much better choice. Gloss or semi-gloss finishes have a shine, which makes them ideal for the kitchen and bathrooms.

Forgetting about lighting

Lighting is something that frequently gets overlooked during a remodel, but it can have a huge effect when everything is finalized. This is particularly true if things have been moved around or the dynamic of rooms has changed. The three main kinds of lighting – general, task, and accent – need to work in conjunction with one another to create the best effects.

Neglecting the exterior

Many homeowners have a vision for what they want their homes to look like after a renovation, and in many cases, this only includes the interior. But improving the landscaping, adding in some hardscape elements, or even putting on a deck – or fixing up an old one – can drastically improve a home’s exterior and also enhance its curb appeal.

Not talking to pros

Even if you want your home renovation project to be completely DIY, you should still consult with professionals. Contractors and designers can offer expert advice and help you create an effective plan. Their trained eyes may also notice issues that need to be addressed either before or during the project.

There’s no feeling in the world quite like creating something wonderful with your own two hands. A home remodel will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment. But that’s when it’s completed; getting to the point when you can enjoy your new kitchen or finished basement takes a lot of work, and it’s often more than most DIYers can handle on their own. What’s the easiest way to improve your home? Hiring contractors who specialize in home renovations.

With Tandem Contracting, you can leave all of the work to us. In addition to kitchens and bathrooms, our services include landscaping, roofing, and decks. However you want to enhance your home, we can help. To get started, you can call us at 973-864-3100 or just fill out our online contact form to tell us about your project.

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