According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, Americans invested $125 billion remodeling or renovating their homes in 2012. If you're considering ripping out the tile in your bathroom or completely overhauling your basement, you might start the project by making all the "fun" decisions – such as picking out new accessories or paint colors. However, to ensure your project ultimately succeeds, it's actually best to start at the beginning! Here are a few tips that will help:
Decide What You Can Handle Yourself
Before you formulate a budget or think about searching for a contractor, you need to ask yourself one critically important question: What can I handle? Even if you consider yourself an amateur electrician/plumber/carpenter/jack-of-all-trades, it's vital to realize your limitations and be realistic about what projects should be left to the professionals.
According to Bankrate, there are many perks to taking on simple DIY projects, including:
The potential to save big money.
A chance to enjoy your passion for home improvement, or simply getting your hands dirty.
However, Bankrate also warns homeowners of the potential pitfalls that come with taking on even the simplest of remodeling jobs. For example, if you try to tackle a project that is over your head, you might wind up spending even more money in the long run having a professional fix your mistake.
In addition, your family might not be fond of your continued absence or being forced to lend a hand. Remember, a chore that you can handle might still take twice as long as a professional who has the correct tools and equipment at their disposal.
If you're remodeling or updating an entire house, chances are you'd rather spend your spare time choosing hardwood floors for the upstairs hallways instead of deciding which insulation is most energy efficient. However, when it comes to creating a home that is safe and stylish, it's always best to save the cosmetic choices for the final weeks of your schedule.
According to Homebuilding & Renovating, the most sensible places to begin your remodeling project include:
Is the Structure Safe? – No matter if the house was constructed 20 or 200 years ago, it's vital to start by assessing the home's structural integrity. If you're unsure the floors are even safe to walk on, it's best to have this assessment performed by a professional.
Where is that Moisture Coming From? – Depending on where you live, moisture might be a huge issue – and signs of damage or mold aren't always so obvious. Examine the usual suspects first, including the sinks and bathtubs, and if you notice any mold growth or musty odor, it's best to have the entire home tested to determine if remediation is necessary.
What Permits? – Once again, the projects that require permits will vary depending on your location. Before you begin tearing down a single wall or rerouting the pipes in the basement, it's best to make sure you're not doing anything illegal.
Last, once you have the proper permits and the roof is deemed secure, Homebuilding & Renovating urges home owners to tackle one vital project: replacing or securing all the home's doors and windows. Not only will making sure the doors and vinyl windows are properly sealed help protect the interior from Mother Nature, it will also keep all your materials and tools safe from intruders.
Starting a renovation project can be an odd mixture of terrifying and exhilarating – especially if this is your first time. However, by making a sensible start, you can help ensure your project is completed on time, on budget and with fewer headaches for your whole family!