10 Ways to Avoid Home Remodeling Mistakes

by Beth HunterSeptember 6, 2013

Each time you tackle a home remodeling project yourself you are going to run into a myriad of glitches and challenges. It simply comes with the territory of attempting something new and hoping to do it perfectly the first time around. As you do more and more projects yourself, your skills and confidence will improve and so will your results! However, to help you avoid making common mistakes let’s explore 10 ways to avoid home remodeling mistakes.

1. Map out your project and overestimate your expenses.

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Plan out your project from beginning to end and overestimate the costs of materials. You will inevitably run into some unexpected challenge that will end up costing you a bit more than you originally anticipated. Make sure to pad your project with some extra money in the budget before you decide to take it on.

2. Admit when you need help.

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One of the biggest mistakes that eager DIY’ers make is to get in over their heads. Admit when you need help and stop while you are ahead. If you’ve made a mess of a major project, admit that it is time to consult a professional. Trying to fix a messy job can lead to greater expense down the road.

3. Consult your city as to whether or not you need a permit for your project.

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Depending on the scope of your remodeling project, you may need to obtain a permit from your city before you begin the work. Be sure to do your research ahead of time to avoid potential fines and project delays.

4. Buy quality tools and supplies to do the job right.

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It is tempting to cut corners on costs when tackling a home improvement project. Chances are good that you chose to do it yourself in the first place in order to save money. Quality tools are not inexpensive and costs can add up quickly. View the cost of tools as a long-term investment that will pay off over your lifetime. If you buy inexpensive tools to do the job, you will most likely end up frustrated and end up with results that do not reflect the quality you are hoping for.

5. Follow all safety guidelines.

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Working with tools, climbing ladders, and doing physical labor is wrought with safety hazards. Be sure to read your safety manuals and follow all precautions before you begin. It is important to wear all recommended safety gear and learn how to properly use tools before you begin your project. Also, do not overextend your reach when up on a ladder and never stand on the top step.

6. Make sure to use the correct paint for your project.

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Many homeowners feel the most comfortable in tackling a painting job themselves. However, many homeowners also skip prep steps or use the incorrect paint for the job. The biggest mistake is to skip prepping your project with a quality adhesive primer before you begin. Do your research and consult your paint supplier to find out which paint will work best for your project.

7. Measure everything more than once.

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You have probably heard the old adage to measure twice and cut once. Mis-measuring is very easy to do and can have dire and costly results. Be sure to measure your project several times to be sure of accuracy before you proceed to the next step.

8. Recognize that the project may not add to the resale value of your home.

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If you’re putting on a $30,000 addition to your home or upgrading the back patio in hopes to recover that cost upon resale, recognize that depending on your neighborhood you may not be able to recover the costs. Do your homework beforehand using Homes.com to help you evaluate the market value of your home and neighborhood.

9. Go trendy with the small things but not the big ones.

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Trends are fun to embrace, but they change very quickly. Everyone deserves to create a space that feels fresh, current, and fun, but don’t go too trendy on your large home improvement projects unless you know you can easily change them when necessary. Instead, pick a style that fits the character of your home and focus on adding trendy accessories that can easily be updated if necessary.

10. Expect it to get chaotic and messy.

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Doing a major home remodeling project will add chaos and mess to your home. Typically DIY’ers work on projects during their spare time which means longer completion times for projects. Be realistic on how long a project will take and decide if your family can handle the stress of living in chaos during that time.

About The Author
Beth Hunter
4 Comments
  • September 7, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    All of these are great but of course I love number 10 the most as I have experienced the good, the bad and the chaos that happens during projects. It’s interesting that these projects when finished make the home feel calm and less chaotic but while working on them the mess and the process may make you want to pull your hair out. It’s important to be realistic about the chaos the project may create and consider if you can handle it.

    Although I feel like I can tackle any project admitting you need help is something I’m getting better out. It also weighs on me if it would actually be cheaper to DIY or get help. Sometimes it’s more expensive for me to trial and error a project. For example, we will be having pros install our boys bathroom floors, cabinets and new sinks. I’m not wanting to risk messing up.

  • September 9, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    What a brilliant post! Especially #2! Pinning this so I remember whenever we have a house we want to remodel. 🙂

  • June 9, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    This is a great post. Especially important when it comes to overestimating. We went into a DIY project with an estimate of 70k which below into 130K . It almost sent up broke. You have been warned. Thanks for posting.

  • Chad Pfeffer
    October 4, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    I absolutely love all your tips for remodeling and how to avoid mistakes. Being in the construction business these are things I do everyday, but for the average homeowner they may not.

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