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Ten Common Home Renovation Mistakes

Upgrading your home can be a great way to improve your quality of life and increase your home’s value, but it can also be tricky. Sometimes, a seemingly simple job can turn complex, or small details may lead to bigger problems. To help, we’re sharing some common home renovation mistakes others have experienced so that your projects might be spared — and you’ll get the results you want without the headaches.

  1. Buying Just Enough to Do the Job

Whether it’s flooring, wallpaper, millwork, or fabric for curtains and upholstery, you always need a bit more than calculations indicate. Meanwhile, patterns or matching lots may be unavailable later. Having enough to complete the job plus some leftovers for any future repairs will make your life much easier in the long run.

  1. Not Measuring Properly

Measure, measure, and measure again. Measure three times to cut once—and ensure that clearances for any moving parts or building components will still work. Corner spaces can be especially challenging when you’re trying to make every square inch count.

  1. Relying on DIY Plumbing and Electrical Videos

Easy online access to do-it-yourself videos and websites can lull you into believing your project will be easy. However, plumbing and electrical work must adhere to code. After all, both water and electricity will flow along the path of least resistance—a path that an amateur may not even realize they’ve created but can result in anything from leaks, water damage and rot to shorts, shocks or serious injury. Also, if done incorrectly, work that isn’t up to code will make it impossible to get your home inspection approved when you’re ready to sell your house.

  1. Not Getting a Building Permit or Proper Permissions

Most parishes and localities in Louisiana require a building permit for renovations, new construction and demolitions. Are you thinking of putting up a fence and shed? Do you want to build an addition to your kitchen, create a master suite or replace your windows? You’ll need a building permit, and depending on where you live, you may need prior approval from your homeowner’s association as well. Not having these necessary items will also make it impossible for you to have your home inspected if you choose to sell.

  1. Making Structural Changes That Affect Load-Bearing Ability

Videos love to show a team sledgehammering a wall to smithereens, opening up a spacious open floor plan. However, if that wall happens to be a key support for the second floor or your roof—which is quite heavy—whatever is above may sag or collapse. Removing an internal wall often requires adding a permanent alternative structural support system in advance.

  1. Not Realizing You Must Abate Lead or Asbestos

Older homes may have lead or asbestos. While lead is most commonly found in paint or plumbing and is rather static, asbestos was used in everything from flooring to insulation to roofing. Windows may be seated in a fluffy lining of asbestos that easily goes airborne when disturbed, for example. If your home is older, ensure your contractor is certified for abatement and remediation of these hazards. While there are no federal regulations against DIY asbestos removal, government agencies strongly discourage it because of the health risks that are associated with breathing in asbestos particles.

  1. Not Having the Right Equipment for the Job

Ladders don’t offer scaffolding’s greater level of safety, and whatever ladder you have, it’s probably not long enough or stable enough. Likewise, standard power tools may be insufficient to the demands placed on them. Contractors invest in heavy-duty tools and often the full line of specialized attachments that are necessary to finish a professional-looking job.

  1. Failing to Confirm That Your Contractor Is Bonded, Insured, Licensed and Certified

A low job cost estimate can be compelling, but if your contractor doesn’t maintain the appropriate bonding and insurance, state licensing and needed certifications, your job could end up costing far more than a higher estimate from a responsible, fully vetted construction professional.

  1. Underbudgeting or Cutting Corners

Why did the flooring curl and deteriorate so quickly? Laying a new floor alone won’t solve the problem that the sliding patio doors were improperly installed, are leaking and are allowing water intrusion to rot the floor. Make sure you understand the problem so that you can resolve what’s causing it, not simply cover it up. Remember, too, that changing plans mid-project can increase costs significantly.

  1. Doing Steps Out of Order

Getting ahead of yourself pressures you to finish and puts you in your own way with the dreaded undo or redo. If building components or furnishings arrive in advance of their place in the plan, you’ll need a separate storage area so that you aren’t constantly moving and working around, over and under them—possibly damaging them too. You may forget to do what you can’t see, and you may even ruin features like floors installed too soon, for example, with scuffs, paint or residues.

Ready to Renovate Your Space?

If you’re ready to upgrade or update your home, La Capitol Federal Credit Union is ready to help. We want to be sure that you’ll have the funds you need to make your home all it can be, and our loan officers are here to make it easy. Reach out, and let us help you make your house the home you’ve dreamed of.

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