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Home improvement & diy

AVOID These 10 Most Common Home Renovation Mistakes

 (modified Aug 4, 2022)

The good news is, we're not asking you to confess your home renovation slip-ups and goofs here, in public.

But we all make them.

That time you ordered the dishwasher that was too big for the space. The paint that cracked and peeled off in big hunks before it was even dry. The embarrassing trip to the emergency room because you… well, let's not get into it here.

Some home renovation mistakes are so common the experts find themselves talking about them time and time again.

Homeowners, in 2016 and beyond, do your best to avoid these 10 common home renovation mistakes.

Skipping the Prep Work

We know – prep work is boring and you can't wait to see how that Tangerine Dream paint looks in the foyer, so you barge ahead.

But prep work is important. Take the time to do all the steps of your project right from the beginning.

Prep is especially important for painting. Yes, you really do need to dust and clean the walls, scrape any cracked or flaking paint off with a paint scraper and smooth any bumps with sandpaper.

And don't skip the primer – a high-quality primer will help hide any small imperfections on walls. Skip the prep, and your paint job won't have a sleek, smooth finish. Missing this step is one of the simplest home renovation mistakes you'll surely want to avoid.

Inaccurate Measurements

Measuring tape for home renovation

Measuring is an exact science. Even a fraction of an inch can mean your counter is crooked, your tile looks sloppy, your refrigerator won't fit.

Norm Abram, the master carpenter for years on “This Old House,” is famous for saying, “Measure twice, cut once.”

HGTV's Property Brothers are even more maniacal about this. They say, “Measure 10 times and cut once.”

It's great advice.

It's tempting to rush through the boring measuring part to get to the more exciting stuff. Slow down, measure, then measure again. Are you all thumbs when it comes to measuring? Rushing in general is a common home renovation mistake.

It's OK to ask a pro to do it for you.

Gutting Everything

Who doesn't love a date with a crowbar or sledgehammer? There's something really satisfying about slamming into that avocado green bathroom tile or the 1970s counter tops with the pattern that looks like it belongs in a science lab.

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Make sure you have a sensible plan before you start destroying everything. If you can salvage part of your existing room, you'll save money. Don't assume it all has to go.

Think before you smash.

Using the Wrong Type of Paint

All paint is not the same. And we're not just talking colors. There are different types for different surfaces, and it does make a difference.

Gloss and satin finishes reflect light and make small imperfections show up. In older houses, where the walls likely aren't perfect, a matte finish is better.

The sheen of a satin or gloss paint is easily wiped off, so it's good for trim in areas that might get dirty, like a kitchen or a child's room.

Semi gloss is a good choice for bathrooms, where the moisture level is high. Glossier paint offers more mildew resistance because it's less porous.

Your best bet? Ask the pros at the paint store for advice before you choose your paint. Buying the wrong paint is a home renovation mistake you can easily avoid.

Ignoring Safety

Safety Glasses Required during home renovation

It's easy to feel invincible when you're working on a home renovation project. You have a plan, you've researched your materials, you took vacation time and you're ready to roll.

Do you have goggles to protect your eyes? Ear protection for loud noise? Sturdy work gloves to protect your hands from splinters and wayward nails? Sturdy boots to protect your feet from sharp objects?

Lots of homeowners don't think about these safety precautions. You can pick up most of these items at the same store where you buy your lumber and paint.

Add them to your list.

And don't forget the first-aid kit.

Buying Cheap Materials

Everybody wants to save a buck, so it's easy to be lured in by cheap materials.

Remember how your dad always says, “You get what you pay for?”

Well, he's right. (He'd love to hear you say that.) If you can't afford to complete your project using high quality materials, wait until you can.

Setting an Unrealistic Budget

Remodeling almost always costs more than you think it will. No matter how much you plan and estimate, things happen.

Older homes and larger jobs are more likely to have hidden expenses, as are projects involving plumbing, electrical or other work that's hidden behind walls and ceilings.

There could be mold, leaks, corroded pipes, termite damage, fire hazards or asbestos. Maybe you tear out walls and discover your kitchen wiring isn't up to code.

Experts say expect to spend 10 to 15 percent above what you think the project will cost. Setting an unrealistic budget can end up being one of the more costly home renovation mistakes you make.

Choosing the Cheapest Contractor

Sign saying we are cheaper

The lowest bid is tempting, isn't it? Maybe you can actually save some money on this project.

Resist temptation. Experts say the lowest bid is unlikely to get you the best workmanship. Some contractors may bid low in order to get the job, then cut corners or use low-quality materials to make up the money.

A low bid may mean the contractor doesn't have a realistic grip on the work involved. Get several bids, and really look them over to make sure you know exactly what you're getting for the price.

The written estimates should include details of exact material and installation costs, as well as costs for refuse removal, permits and the general contractor fee. Look for an explanation of how design changes are handled, and a warranty on the work.

These kinds of details show that the contractor has a good grasp of the scope of the project.

Following Trends

When every magazine and home design show sports the same backsplash tile, light fixtures and flooring, you know it's trendy.

That means it's really popular now, but chances are, it won't last. And you'll likely soon tire of it. Choose wisely for your home's key elements, sticking with materials, colors and finishes that will stand the test of time.

Trends are fun, but use them in accessories like pillows and other less expensive home decor.

Trying to Tackle Too Much Yourself

Those home renovation shows on TV make it look easy, don't they? Maybe a bit TOO easy.

Ambition is great, but know your limits. Some things are better left to the pros.

Tackle the painting, a simple backsplash, maybe the flooring. But cabinetry installation, complicated tile work and carpentry require skill and experience.

Mess this stuff up, and it can actually reduce the value of your home.

Make No Mistake — You Need a Dumpster

Dumpster Delivered to Atlanta Home

Chances are, you'll make at least one mistake during your home renovation project.

Don't let that mistake be forgetting to call Bin There Dump That when you need a dumpster to haul away the mess. That part of your project will go exactly according to plan.

While traditional dumpsters are huge and heavy and could crack your driveway, we place wooden boards under our bins so they never actually touch your property. No damage. Our local dumpster rental operators even sweep up your driveway before they drive off.

When it's time to tear into your project, contact the franchise operator nearest you.

Images: Mistake illustration, Safety glasses, Cheaper, Measuring tape, BTDT Atlanta delivery

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