Spring is here, summer is on its way, and now that your spring cleaning is almost done, how about rediscovering your home? Once all that clutter and dust is cleared away, you never know what you will find. Squeaky hinges and groaning drawers? Ragged carpet that’s older than your first-born? A wooden deck that was once cherry stained and now faded into a soft, sandy pink? Summer’s the time for home improvement—for rediscovering and transforming your home. Whatever the task ahead may be, be sure to plan thoroughly, budget well, and avoid these five common home improvement mistakes. It may mean the difference between your dream home and a nightmare.
- Taking on too large of a task. The best way to begin your home improvement is to make a thorough plan and start small. The worst mistake home owners make is attempting to tackle too much at once. Instead of remodeling the whole house, focus on single rooms. Start with something simple, like repainting the kitchen, and then focus on bringing in new appliances and light fixtures. If you’re remodeling a bathroom, be careful and exact because that is usually a very confined space with frequently-used amenities. A cramped shower or awkward toilet location could haunt you and your guests. Take it slow, map out the space with specific measurements, and determine which changes you want to make and where.
- Pinching pennies or not budgeting enough. Many people either buy cheap services, materials, and tools to save a penny or over spend by not budgeting well. It is a tough balance to find, but it is necessary. When purchasing your supplies, including services, materials, and tools, shop around. Don’t jump at the first contractor who offers to do the work—read reviews and consider the pricing. Skimping costs on materials such as flooring, siding, and cabinets may result in your improvements being less than satisfactory and cost you more in the long run. On the other hand, it is equally important to know your budget and not to overspend. Keep your budget realistic, try to factor in all costs, and leave room for those you don’t expect.
- Not knowing your DIY limit. While it may be tempting to strap on your tool belt and do all your home improvement yourself, there are times you must admit the project is out of your league and seek the help of professionals. Easy projects like painting, demolition work, wallpaper removal, and hardware replacements are a good place to start. Electricity and plumbing, however, can quickly turn into DIY disasters if not done with the right expertise and skill. Likewise, don’t bother with DIY projects if you aren’t willing to put the time and concentration into the job. Many require exact measurements and precision that takes time and patience.
- Not communicating with contractors. If you are hiring contractors for your home improvement projects, be sure to tell them exactly what you want. Explain your vision, determine the style you desire, and provide them with examples. You are paying for their services, so it is okay for you to request the design and style you want. Many people make the mistake of compromising their original vision and style for the sake of the contractor or designer. If your heart is set on something, don’t let a contractor or designer dissuade you because you are the one who will live with the consequences.
- Not getting a permit. Depending on the task at hand, you may need a specific permit before you get started. While the paperwork is pesky, it’s important to know your town’s building codes and to ensure you are working with the right permits to avoid getting fined or delayed.
If gutter installations or cleanings are on your list of to-dos for this summer, visit our website or give us a call at 203-878-2411.