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Biggest lesson learned from your remodel project?

Mittens Cat
April 16, 2019

If you could go back in time, what would you do differently regarding your remodel?


Anything goes! (Though I'm particularly interested in hearing what folks would do differently to prevent problems years later.)

Comments (10)

  • PRO
    Sina Sadeddin Architectural Design

    Budget, add 10-20% to it, THEN STICK TO THE BUDGET


    Going beyond the budget can lead to a ton of issues later on. People may spend too much on one item, then go the cheap route somewhere else which causes issues later on. Or someone goes beyond their budget and builds beyond their neighborhood value and will never see that money back. Sticking to a budget is one the hardest, but best thing you can do during a remodel/build.

    Mittens Cat thanked Sina Sadeddin Architectural Design
  • Oliviag/ bring back Sophie
    You don't always know whats in the walls, so be prepared. you may have to scale back options to stay on budget.
    but, deal with all structural, insulation, electrical, and mechanical issues at the beginning.
    cosmetics can wait. buy the best insulation, windows, roofing you can afford.
    Mittens Cat thanked Oliviag/ bring back Sophie
  • mnmamax3

    I think you have to be realistic on your scope. We started out with a much-needed floor sanding... decided to convert the LR carpet to hardwood and then stained it all. That snowballed into a complete first-floor remodel including replacing fireplace, counters, backsplash, painting, and new enamel on cabinets. We are happy with the results but know if you change one element such that no longer matches the existing colors/style, you are setting yourself up to redo a lot more than you bargained for.

    Mittens Cat thanked mnmamax3
  • dyliane

    don't try to patch just go to the studs as soon is possible

    Mittens Cat thanked dyliane
  • Cheryl Smith

    It will take longer and cost more than you think. It's hard living in a remodel. Sheetrock dust gets everywhere and seems to stay forever. Plan it all out before you start But expect the unexpected.

    Mittens Cat thanked Cheryl Smith
  • PRO
    JAN MOYER

    I tell clients...........

    Price, Quality. Delivery. Pick TWO of these. Yes ......TWO.

    Quickly translated? Low price/fast delivery sacrifices quality

    Quality and palatable price will sacrifice time, usually yours and no it won't be fast

    Quality, low pricing, fast delivery? FUGGGHEDABOUT IT. And do that right this minute.

    Mittens Cat thanked JAN MOYER
  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC

    Here's what I've learned from many years of renovations and building projects:

    1. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN!!!! Most Design Dilemmas are the result of doing reno work without any planning. And that means plan the work and plan the budget.

    2. But always BE PREPARED for the unexpected. Even with the best plans, you will always come across unforeseen problems, which will cost time and money. Have money set aside for contingencies and don't stress over the time delays that will inevitably happen. Avoid doing a big project before holidays, weddings, etc. You have no wiggle room with a fixed date for completion.

    3. HIRE THE BEST CONTRACTOR you can afford. A good GC knows how to schedule a project and has trades lined up to get the job done in an efficient and timely manner. Make sure he comes with references and you have a written contract spelling out the scope and price of the job.

    4. BE FLEXIBLE. Sometimes the scope of the project is just too expensive. Be prepared to downsize the scope to stay within your budget. Figure out what needs to be done now and what can wait until you have the funds. Do this before any work is started so you don't end up with a half-finished project.

    Mittens Cat thanked Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
  • deb s

    Design with the future in mind- I am on my 9th house (live in renovator) and have found thinking strategically pays off- live in a house for while before you change it- i found some of the stuff I initially planned didnt make sense once I lived in the house for a while.


    I have done three houses in phases where the first floor reno was done first so we ran plumbing and electric up to the second floor for a phase two renovation (knew the phase two floor plan in phase one) This avoided allot of cost in phase two as we didnt have to open walls to run pipes etc. I REGRET not running a gas line in the basement for a future gas fireplace and not running a gas line to the backyard for grill and possible generator.


    Storage storage storage - dont design out a closet, niche or storage area- add where you can - just did a second floor addition where we built the nightstands and makeup table into the wall as I knew the room would be on the small side - totally worked



    Mittens Cat thanked deb s
  • tamara ballou

    Be in a hurry. Budget Budget Budget. We started 5yrs ago doing most of the work ourselves, and even when we were in doubt if we could do the work ourselves after hiring someone we were usually unhappy with the results. DO NOT be afraid to fire anyone who nods and says sure i can do that, then decides to cut corners and do it their way instead. I had hired someone to install tile and trim the bathrooms out with Schluter. We purchased all the inside and outside corner pieces at a cost of 15 to $20 a piece. We explained multiple times what we needed done even drew diagrams and laid out all the pieces. I walked away for 2hrs came back and the contractor went and miter cut all the strips of Schluter and didnt use any of the finishing corner pieces. I was disgusted. BIG wasted of money. Be present as much as you can when someone is working at your home. If they cant answer questions, cut out early, or make themselves unavailable when they know you will be there more than likely they want to hide something. I've experienced it. Sometimes getting the really good builder means getting in line and waiting your turn even if it takes months. There is a reason that builder is really busy.

  • 50s_ranch Andres

    One thing I see a lot on Houzz is that when a homeowner is unhappy with a contractor's workmanship (usually with good reason), the contractor blames the homeowner with the phrase " you have too critical of an eye". Hire a contractor with a critical eye! Better yet, hire a design/build firm. All the desicisions about materials, finishes, changes to floor plans, etc. are worked out ahead of time. There will be no last minute, panicked posts to Houzz about "help, I have 24 hours to chose a (?), or does this back splash go with this countertop?", etc.

    Mittens Cat thanked 50s_ranch Andres

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