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Remodeling Myths and Facts

Updated on April 29, 2011

Homeowners who intend to remodel have a great deal to think about. In addition to the choice of design and overall improvements, homeowners have to sort through a range of details that frequently appear to be contradictory. Getting started on the project can sometimes seem as difficult as completing it. To ensure that homeowners make the best decisions and put their money to the most effective use, they should sort through the various myths and facts of home remodeling.

Myth: Increase your home’s value with a renovation.

The goal of renovation is to increase the home’s value, of course, but this is not necessarily true in all cases. A remodeling project that is well budgeted and adds useful improvements to the property can be an excellent investment for homeowners. A remodeling project that goes over budget or uses low-quality materials has the potential to backfire and add little to the home except potential problems in the future.

Myth: Remodel the interior instead of the exterior.

The question of interior vs. exterior depends largely on the house and what it needs the most. Exterior projects tend to catch the eye of potential home buyers, so homeowners who plan to sell and know that the property needs a little sprucing up should consider the value of exterior remodeling. Interior remodeling, however, can play a much bigger role in improving the overall quality of the home. A house that is adorable from the front but has a kitchen stuck in a previous decade, peeling linoleum on the floors, and aging bathroom fixtures is not going to appeal to anyone.

Myth: Go with the flow of the latest trend.

Incorporating home improvement trends requires a sharp eye and a good sense for what will last and what is just a passing fancy. Some trends are little more than seasonal preferences, and homeowners who invest in a trendy remodel might find themselves regretting it in a year or two. Some trends tend to stick, on the other hand, and those are the trends that homeowners should consider. Good remodeling projects aim for a high return on the investment, and the trendier a renovation the lower the return is expected to be.

Myth: If there is a crack in the wall, the house is falling apart.

Cracks in the wall should always be taken seriously, whether or not the problem turns out to be a serious one. Some cracks result from faulty construction; builders working in a hurry might fail to let the concrete set long enough, and the shifting house can begin to crack over time. Other cracks are a little more inevitable and might be the result of climate or just the age of the house. A brand-new home that develops a number of cracks in the wall is likely a sign of bad construction. A sixty-year-old house that creaks, groans, and shows occasional hairline cracks in the wall is just showing its age.

Myth: DIY is the most economical route for homeowners.

Homeowners who plan to apply a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach should make sure that they know what they are doing before starting the project. DIY is only economical if the homeowner is familiar with the requirements of the project and has the necessary skills to complete it. DIY can quickly become a big cost in itself if the homeowner cannot complete the project or if the homeowner does something wrong and has to call a contractor to fix the mistakes that were made – in addition to completing the project.

Myth: The big hardware stores can apply all renovation needs.

Big hardware stores are a boon for homeowners with basic projects. If you need to paint a wall, stain a patio, or install a new lighting fixture, the big hardware store is the place to start. If you need to tear down and reconstruct a wall, re-wire the home, or establish a new plumbing line, you need a professional. Besides having knowledge of the job, the professionals also know about the building codes that guarantee a property is remodeled safely. Completing a renovation that is not up to code can result in a fine or lead to problems in resale, as the inspector cannot pass a home that does not meet code.

Myth: Purchase a few supplies at a time, over time, to save money.

Although there is some flexibility for the type of project that you are completing, most construction experts recommend that homeowners buy all of the supplies around the same time. Doing so will ensure that they acquire all of the items they need and avoid any last-minute drives to the store for more supplies. At the same time, hardware stores frequently run sales, so homeowners should consider the types of supplies they need and the timeframe for completing the project. If the store is running plywood on sale a few weeks before the homeowner expects to begin the project, it might be worth going over to the store early and picking up the supplies to save money later on.


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