Solving Your Design Challenge: Common Remodeling Mistakes To Avoid In St. Louis

Written by Brittany Allen

common remodeling mistakes st louisEager to see the end result, many homeowners rush into a remodeling project without a well-defined plan. Others make decisions based on resale value alone, or pick a contractor who isn’t knowledgeable about the work they want to do. Regardless of the reason, if you want to confidently move forward with your own remodel, use these tips to avoid some common remodeling mistakes.  

Common Remodeling Mistakes

So many potential pitfalls! But there’s a lot you can do to keep worries at bay. Remodeling projects almost always come with a surprise or two, but knowing what not to do ahead of time ensures your remodel goes as smoothly as possible. Here’s what not to do if you want to avert any major shocks or setbacks.

An Inflexible Budget

There will be times during a remodel when something pops up that needs to be paid for out of your budget. A budget that allows for some flexibility provides peace of mind when hidden problems, like the need to rewire, reveal themselves. Many experts suggest a cushion of 15 percent of the total project – and even 20 percent for older homes – for unexpected expenses. We do things a bit differently.

This is an area where working with a design-build firm like J.T. McDermott can really pay off in terms of budgetary peace of mind. Our process is designed in such a way that we spend a lot of time up front with our trade partners, such as electricians and plumbers, reviewing and discussing your project’s needs and goals. Before we get started on your plans, we’ll do things like test circuits and drill holes in walls if necessary to see what may be behind them. Because we do our homework ahead of time, you need a much smaller contingency – two to three percent – to cover any unexpected or requested changes.

High Resale Expectations

If putting your house on the market is the reason for remodeling, fix maintenance issues first. Then keep any remodeling project in line with what is typical for your neighborhood and resist any temptation to over-improve. The amount you spend on a remodel rarely, if ever, results in a full return on your investment. Better to save those funds for your new home.

Start Work Without a Contract

Not only should you have a comprehensive contract in place before you start, make sure you thoroughly understand it. A contract should include the scope of work, materials to be used, clean-up details, and the payment schedule. Most importantly, there should be a clear understanding between you and your contractor about the schedule. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about when work will start, the order the work will be performed, and the expected completion date.

Skimping on the Unseen

Out of sight should not mean out of the question. Some things are worth spending the money on, even if no one will notice them. For example, don’t skimp on adhesives and caulking. A bathroom membrane system, which is placed under tiles to prevent them from cracking or popping, is often money well-spent, as it prevents water from seeping into the substructure. And energy-efficient windows are almost always worth it.

Common Kitchen Remodeling Mistakes

Remodeling your kitchen is one of the biggest home renovations you can do, so there are a lot of things that can get overlooked. Avoid these common mistakes to ensure you get the kitchen of your dreams.

  • Going Overboard on Trends. A too-trendy kitchen can bring down the resale value of your home. Even if you intend to stay in your home forever, you may tire of the trends and find yourself remodeling again before too long. Some trends people later regret include built in appliances that never get used (wine chillers, double ovens, rice cookers) and take up room that could have been used for storage and meal prep.
  • Not Planning an Alternate Cooking Space. Unless you’re told otherwise, don’t expect a working kitchen until the project is complete. You may be without running water, electricity, or gas in the kitchen during your remodel, so work with your contractor to set up a temporary meal preparation area for the duration of the job.
  • Not Picking Out Appliances First. It’s a good idea to choose your appliances before the remodel begins. It makes it much easier for the designer to make sure the final plans accurately reflect the space needed for built-in microwaves, ranges, oversized refrigerators, and wall ovens. It also eliminates the common mistake of mismeasuring for cabinets.

Common Bathroom Remodeling Mistakes

Updating or installing a new master bathroom is one of the best ways to boost your home’s value and make it more enjoyable for your family. Avoid costly mishaps with these bathroom remodeling tips.

  • Don’t Ignore the Bathroom Fan. Overlooking it may seem like a small detail, but it’s a big mistake. Lack of proper ventilation causes humidity to build up on bathroom surfaces which, over time, causes mildew to form, and paint and grout to deteriorate.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Change the Bathroom Layout. The longer you’ve lived in your home, the more difficult it can be to see it any other way. Moving a tub, toilet, shower and/or sink isn’t always that difficult or overly expensive. Don’t settle for an awkward floor plan just because that’s the way it’s always been.
  • Don’t Rush the Finish Work. It’s understandable that you might lose focus towards the end of your remodel. As the room comes together, most homeowners are excited to see the completed job. But finish work is extremely important to the overall look of the remodeled space, so move at a steady pace through completion to be sure every detail is handled correctly. Your patience will pay off!

Learn More

A successful remodeling project starts with a detailed plan that’s designed to help you avoid these common mistakes. To learn more about how J.T. McDermott Remodeling Contractors can make sure your St. Louis Metro area home remodel goes off without a hitch, schedule a conversation with us today. We look forward to meeting you!

Brittany received her interior design degree in 2010 and recently earned her kitchen and bathroom certifications. She sees her job as much more than just picking out pretty colors and materials – it also involves exact measurements, plenty of planning, and determining how to have a space accurately reflect the lifestyle of its occupants.

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