5 Home Improvement Mistakes to Avoid

Just as a home improvement project can be very beneficial, it can also cause as much disaster when not done right. Year after year, the number of New York homeowners jumping into the home remodeling and improvement bandwagon is getting larger and larger.  A percentage of this population fails miserably in one way or another. To avoid becoming one among this number, here are the 5 most common home improvement mistakes to avoid ideal whether you are in Manhattan, Long Island, Brooklyn, Queens, or Staten Island.

Not Checking with the Community

Before even creating your home improvement plan, it is a must to check your property’s local zoning codes. Not doing so could lead to ugly legal bouts, and not knowing is never an excuse with the law. Contact the City Hall and inquire about the requirements to acquire permits for your project. Some homeowner associations might also have their set of imposed design specifications. And certain home improvements are restricted if your home is located within a historic neighborhood.

Failing to Plan… Properly

With the lot of warning homeowners are getting, those undertaking home improvement projects have already taken action. Many now prepare a game plan before actually tackling just any project. But the question is, have you drafted your plan well enough to ensure project success? A well-detailed plan is one of your keys to a beautiful as well as functional result. And any area overlooked in the plan could create the greatest of disturbance in the progress of the project or worse – failure and a waste of time, effort, and money.   

Not Accepting Your Limitations

When weighing the skill set that you posses, pushing your limits can not only lead to backbreaking tasks that results to wasted time and effort. What you think saved you some dollars by doing yourself might end you up with more bank-breaking bills. Yes picking up a paint brush can be a breeze but with projects that require larger tools and more intricate knowledge, better hand the home improvements to qualified contractors. With your experience in project management and time available, carefully consider whether you’ll need a part-time supervisor or a general contractor. Do your home and your pocket book a favor and don’t risk it.

Hiring the Wrong Contractors

As craftsmanship is what makes up high quality results that stand the tests of time, who you hire is among the most important decisions you have to get to in the life of your project. Hire a qualified contractor through considering: proper and valid license, BBB membership, unresolved complaints filed, applicable liability insurance coverage, professional background and references. To hire the home improvement contractor to give the best value for your money, get multiple bids before making the big decision.  

Not Doing Your Part

Being a homeowner means that you still shoulder the greatest accountability, and take note, this is the case even if you have hired a general contractor. Every so often, you still have to check on your hired home improvement contractors and subcontractors and the work that they are doing. Keep complete records of important project documents and have easy access to them for quick reference in case of confusions and arising issues. Leave the lines of communication open to resolve problems in its earliest stage enabling immediate resolution that is within budget. And provide a good and comfortable working environment for your workers.

10 Surefire Ways to Avoid Common DIY Home Improvement Mistakes

Ask people who have completed do-it-yourself projects and they’ll tell you that the projects took at least twice and much time and three times the money they thought they would. The basic reason is that DIYers usually make a lot of mistakes that end up making home improvement projects more expensive and time-consuming.

Here are 10 surefire ways to avoid the top DIY home improvement mistakes in the future and ensure success.

1. Take out the required permits — it’s amazing how many DIYers skip this step. Sure, it takes time, and it means you have to deal with the government, but it’s actually in your best interest to make sure get the required home improvement permits. The folks in the permitting office will make sure the project is done correctly and that you stay safe in the process. Also, for some projects, you’ll need proof that you have a permit or your insurance company won’t cover the improvement. You’ll probably need a permit for any project larger than wallpapering and painting. If you’re unsure, call your local building department and ask.

2. Have all the tools and materials you need available before you start your project — starting a job without the necessary tools and supplies will slow down the job and delay your progress. And make sure you buy quality tools. They’re a wise investment.

3. Prepare the job site for material deliveries — when your suppliers deliver materials, you’ll want to make sure the job site is ready to accept them. You don’t want your materials exposed to the weather while you are working and you want to have a storage area to prevent theft.

4. Don’t skimp on materials — for example, don’t use 1/4-inch drywall for building walls. Use at at least 5/8-inch; and 3/4-inch works well for a good sound barrier. Use 3/4-inch plywood for sub-floors. It creates a much stronger floor.

5. Prepare the walls for painting — clean the walls, sand them and patch any holes before you paint. Use a coat of primer or stain blocker if you’re trying to cover over oil-based paint, stains or peeling paint, or if you’re painting a lighter color over a darker color.

6. Use the correct paint — use flat paint ceilings. Interior paints should have at least an eggshell or satin finish so you can scrub it. For outdoor decks, use a linseed-oil-based stain to drive the pigment into the wood and preserve it.

7. Keep safe while working — you don’t want to end up in the emergency room. Wear safety goggles when using power tools or working with drywall or wood. Wear a hard hat when you’re working under other people on scaffolding, and open some windows when you’re painting or staining, or stripping old finishes off of floors or walls. Don’t wear loose, hanging clothing, especially when using power tools. Wear gloves when carrying wood, metal and rock, or when hammering, and wear a nail or tool pouch to prevent damage to your floors, feet, and pets.

8. Measure twice and cut once — probably the most important rule of any project. If you’re going to make a mistake, make it too long. You can always make something shorter. You can’t make it longer.

9. Know the limits of your abilities — you’re not going to be good at everything. If you don’t have a lot of experience at plumbing or electrical work, for instance, don’t attempt those projects.

10. Don’t start to learn how to do a project on your own house — If you want to learn how to do a project, offer your assistance to a friend who is an experienced DIYer or a contractor. And if you have any question about what you’re doing, make sure you stop and ask.

You probably won’t eliminate all of your DIY home improvement mistakes, but you can surely reduce them with these 10 tips.