Home renovation dos and don'ts
Remodeling can be a thrill and a half. You have the chance to overhaul your home and turn your vision into a living, breathing reality. The home renovation process is packed with potential—and pitfalls. Follow these dos and don’ts for remodeling projects done right.
DO map everything out.
Make accurate drawings of floor plans and elevations and measure everything from room dimensions and door frames to ceilings and stairwells. Tiny mistakes have major consequences—half an inch can make all the difference. Before buying large furniture, try this trick. With furniture measurements in mind, use painters tape to draw an outline on the floor to show how much space that piece will use. With a clear visual, you can make informed decisions.
DON’T throw out receipts.
Save receipts for everything—even replacement outlet covers—for tax purposes and in case you need to return anything.
DO keep a clean worksite.
While dust clouds are unavoidable, your space doesn't have to look like a war zone. Staying tidy and organized will keep you sane. Vacuum often and utilize open windows and fans to combat dust and circulate fresh air. Your sinuses will thank you.
DON’T forget to power up.
Electricity is often overlooked during the renovation process—out of sight, out of mind. But tearing down that wall and installing those kitchen cabinets could have major electrical implications. Walk through your home with an electrician to determine if you need to reconfigure your outlets. And please make sure everything’s up to code.
DO get the right tools for the job.
Painter’s tape makes it easy to paint around windows and trim, while EZ Glides make moving furniture around your home a cinch.
DON’T settle when choosing your remodeler.
Look for a member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) with a sterling Better Business Bureau record and a truckload of positive reviews online. Set up a quick interview. This person is going to be in your personal space, you should probably like them.
DO go green.
People often pass on energy efficient remodeling because they either don’t know how or think it costs extra. Big mistake. Going green is a sound investment in your home’s future and will ensure plenty of interest if you ever decide to sell. Energy efficiency is easy on the environment and easy on your wallet, in the long run.
DON’T cut corners.
If you're going to renovate, go the whole nine yards. Can't afford a full-scale remodel? Hit the pause button. Don’t take shortcuts to save money—a second-rate renovation is worse than no renovation. You shouldn’t blow your entire budget on overpriced materials, but bargain buys are cheap for a reason. You get what you pay for.
DO protect your floors.
The renovation process can expose carpet and hardwood flooring to water spills, paint stains, dirt showers and wear from heavy construction boots. Invest in a waterproof, self-adhesive film before starting any project.
DON’T sleep on labor costs.
The more unexpected bumps in the road, the more billable hours pile up. Here’s a tip: Ask your contractor for a flat fee estimate. Every project has surprises but your final cost shouldn’t be one.
DO post snapshots.
Take pictures of the whole process to remember the positives and learn from the negatives. Plus, everyone loves dramatic before and after shots.
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