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10 DIY Renovation Pitfalls to Avoid

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4. Scope Creep

This condition is more often seen in projects where a contractor is doing to the work, but it still happens with DIY projects. You may think …while your in there…can you do this…and that…Next thing you know, the project is twice as big, the schedule and budget are blown and your project is still not completed. Fight the urge to expand the bath remodel into a whole house remodel. Save a project for next time. You will appreciate the down time to recover your wits, and let the home remodel fund gain some strength.

5. Lack of Tools or Skills to Use Them

I have to admit it — I have a lot of tools. But, I use them on all types of projects. I do custom cabinetry, furniture, tile and hardwood flooring, in addition to trim carpentry, and framing. Chances are you, as a basic homeowner, will not have all the specialty tools that make a job go by quickly and safely. Since I have used these tools for years, I am familiar with the safety issues and the best way to use them. If you need to rent or borrow tools, you may have a steep learning curve, and there is no substitute for experience.

If a 250 pound 220 Volt floor sander scares you…get help. Running a floor sander can be a rewarding experience. It can also punch a big hole in your wall if it gets away from you…(see Items 2, 3 and 4 above).

6. Material Selection / Over Build, Under Build

Picking out tile or figuring what type of hardwood flooring will look great in your living room is one of the fun parts of a project. The lesson here is to balance the materials / appliances with the style and value of your home. That six-burner $5000 Wolf gas range is cool, but will it fit in your 88-square-foot kitchen? On the other hand, a linoleum tile floor just doesn’t fit with granite slab counters. Keep things balanced and equitable with the rest of your home.

7. Aggressive Timeline

Most projects will take longer to complete than you first thought. Chances are you still have your “regular job” so your project is being done on weekends and evenings — this gets old pretty quick. I was there when I added 960 square feet to my home about a decade ago. After putting in 8-9 hours at your day job, do you really want to sand drywall for another 3-4 hours? No, not really, this pattern will erode your enthusiasm, and slow you down. Plan for it!

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Networx.com empowers people to make educated, economical and Earth-friendly renovation and home repair choices. We are a community of homeowners, renters and contractors who are committed to sharing home improvement expertise and experience.

50 comments

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9:32AM PDT on Jun 11, 2013

Great article it's actually helpful,thanks for sharing

5:58PM PST on Mar 4, 2013

Good advice, thanks.

10:55PM PDT on Aug 24, 2011

hi everyone, please sign this petition and help
www.thepetitionsite.com/1/heidi---a-girl-of-the-alps/

3:57PM PDT on Jul 31, 2011

This definitely makes me think. And I agree about the making-things-match thing - ugly linoleum on the floor and a new concrete counter-top does not a pretty kitchen make. I'll definitely need more research on the order of things to do when remodeling a kitchen...

Thank you for the information.

5:39AM PDT on Jul 15, 2011

Thanks for the article.

1:16PM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

It is best to get several estimates so you know what you have to budget for. Sometimes you find you can do some of the pre-work to save time and money. Leave the big stuff to the pros.

12:41PM PST on Jan 9, 2011

Useful tips, thank you!!

1:19PM PST on Dec 16, 2010

Useful tips, and timely for me! All summer I am immersed in my outside world, spending every waking moment dealing with gardening, weeding etc, so the inside gets forgotten. Dishes piling up is the least of it! So this winter I determined to re-do the living area to make it both practical and user friendly, and also a bit nicer. I determined to keep it simple - a cheap new surround in one bathroom, with a fresh coat of paint. New floor tiles in the kitchen to brighten it and make the floor easier to clean than the 40's era linoleum currently there. Then installing the cabinets hubby built years ago but became too ill to install. Having all winter to work on it means I am able to take time to work out which things have to be moved where, what has to be painted before something is installed. Sitting back and looking at the big picture - the before and after, and the necessary steps needed to get there - has kept me from jumping into too much trouble so far. these tips reminded me of other concerns I need to look out for - thanks!

1:18PM PST on Dec 16, 2010

Useful tips, and timely for me! All summer I am immersed in my outside world, spending every waking moment dealing with gardening, weeding etc, so the inside gets forgotten. Dishes piling up is the least of it! So this winter I determined to re-do the living area to make it both practical and user friendly, and also a bit nicer. I determined to keep it simple - a cheap new surround in one bathroom, with a fresh coat of paint. New floor tiles in the kitchen to brighten it and make the floor easier to clean than the 40's era linoleum currently there. Then installing the cabinets hubby built years ago but became too ill to install. Having all winter to work on it means I am able to take time to work out which things have to be moved where, what has to be painted before something is installed. Sitting back and looking at the big picture - the before and after, and the necessary steps needed to get there - has kept me from jumping into too much trouble so far. these tips reminded me of other concerns I need to look out for - thanks!

1:15PM PDT on Oct 5, 2010

Very well said.

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