Do-it-yourself Home Improvements

According to Itani, these are other ways to avoid unexpected costs during construction:

1. Include accurate estimates for material waste: If the material has a pattern, the percentage of waste will be greater depending on the repeat of the pattern.

2. Check the availability of the materials before starting the construction: When the material selected is not in stock, chances are you will have to make a last minute substitution that can be at a different price point than the original selection.

3. Know the history of the house: You can never be sure on the conditions of the house until you do the demolition. A house may seem fairly new, however it can have many problems. Being prepared to doing some additional repair work and accounting for it ahead of time will keep you within your budget and timeline.

4. Think of all the design details: Door handles, hinges, and other hardware can easily be forgotten and depending on the selection you make, they can add major cost.

5. Account for the preparation work: For example, leveling the floors before installing the materials or smoothing the walls.

6. Avoid changing the design during construction: Order large samples to help see the materials and allow enough time during the design phase to better understand the overall look. Use tape to mark any floor or wall patterns to better visualize it in full scale. If you decide to move or add equipment, you will need to get the electrical outlets moved as well and that will add to your overall cost.

Prepare for the Unexpected


“With every remodeling project, large or small, we often encounter unexpected roadblocks that can cause delays during the construction phase,” Ghina Itani continued. “It is common for our focus to be on the big picture; however overlooking small, but important details can prolong the estimated completion date and create unnecessary frustrations.”

Itani outlined some of the contributing factors to schedule delays so that you can be aware before you start any project.

1. Not doing enough research: Research all the materials that you are planning on using to make sure they are suitable for the desired use. For example, applying wood flooring requires moisture testing done to the subfloor. New materials are being introduced regularly and part of our homework is checking that they meet all the requirements of the space.

2. Not having a plan: Before getting the hammer out, have detailed plans of the project. We communicate our design intent through plans and drawings. Plans help identify electrical locations as well as sizes of equipment.

3. Ordering the materials late: Calling in on materials in advance will identify the availability of the items. Non-stock items require weeks to ship and not having them on hand will cause you to stop work, or to switch to another product that may not fit well with your design.

4. Waiting until start day to identify tools and equipment needed: Make sure you have the right tools and adhesives needed for each material. Even forgetting little things like tape can slow you down when you have to stop work to run to the store. It is helpful to experiment with different application techniques when you are uncertain on which method to follow.

5. Estimating fewer materials than expected: Running short on materials can throw your schedule off for a very long time.

6. Putting an unrealistic schedule: For example not accounting the right time needed for the preparation work or enough curing time for the finishes.

7. Not checking the conditions of the received fixtures and other goods: When we receive items like lighting or plumbing fixtures, we normally do not open them until the day of installation. In the case they were broken or missing some parts, chances are the installation is held up until replacement product arrives.

Clearly there are ways to keep the details front and center so you don’t end up with a devil of a project. Listen to Itani and do almost as much prep work as you would do actual work.

So there you have it. Remodeling or fixing up your home might seem like a chore when it requires professional help, but as you can see, without professional help, you could be at the mercy of the city, county, state, your HOA, or a crook, just because you wanted to save a few bucks or not go through the process of getting a permit. Has that ever worked out for anyone you know? Of course not. Just remember, intrepid do-it-yourselfer, you don’t have to do everything yourself…and sometimes you simply can’t.

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