Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Six Remodeling Mistakes To Avoid

Doing it yourself can save thousands of dollars. But making mistakes during your remodel can be costly and dangerous. The key is to plan ahead, use common sense and take some tips from the pros.

Here are a few common mistakes remodeling rookies make.

Failing to locate water cutoffs

Before you start any work, especially in wet areas like bathrooms and kitchens, you need to locate the water cutoff in the house and at the street. This way, if a disaster occurs, you know where to head to cut off the flood.

Not preparing to localize and minimize dust and debris

Demolition is messy. Minimize the impact on your house by containing the mess. Create a work zone and keep tools and supplies inside it. Buy large sheet plastic and heavy duty masking tape to completely screen off doorways and openings. At the end of every work session, use a shop vac to get rid of dust and debris. Then take 15 minutes to organize your tools and supplies. It’ll make it quicker to get started next time.

Getting in a hurry

Sure it’s appealing to rip that wall separating the kitchen and the family room right out, but safe demolition demands planning and forethought. First, turn off all the electricity and water to the demo area. Use a stud finder that is equipped to locate metal to determine where wire and pipes are running through the wall. Then, using a small dry wall saw, cut some investigative holes to see exactly what’s behind the wall. This way, you avoid ripping out most of a wall only to discover it contains a vent or pipe that will be costly to move.
Not protecting surfaces
Mask every finished surface and keep it masked as you work. This means cabinets, walls, baseboards, flooring, and moulding. Cover countertops with interlocking foam tiles to deflect the impact of dropped tools. There’s nothing more discouraging than having to replace, repaint or refinish because of damage, spills or splatters.
Not having a Plan B for plumbing
You may think you’ll get your plumbing done in a day, but jobs have a way of expanding. Supply yourself with end stop fittings to cap off open pipes so you can turn the water back on in mid-job. Home Depot’s end stops are called Sharks; Lowe’s offers a line named Gators. They come in ½”, ¾” and 1-inch sizes and it’s smart to have an assortment on hand. Follow the directions for use.
Not protecting floors when you move appliances
Even builders make this mistake. Put down carpet or masonite (sweep or vacuum thoroughly first to remove anything that could scratch the floor) to roll the appliances over as you are installing them. This will protect new tile or wood flooring from damage.

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