All Home Renovations come with Problems and mistakes occur, but here are some tips to renovating your home to avoid unexpected issues and to make your home project and renovation less painful.
Although it was cozy and warm, the 80-year-old two-story home had little in the way of modern conveniences. It also needed lots of sprucing up.
Its owners decided upon a major renovation for the home, and contacted an architect to help them plan out the project. In addition to prepping the couple about the headaches that come with a major renovation, the architect also stressed there might be a few surprises along the way.
In short, with any renovation or home improvement, there are problems you can expect, and there are problems you can’t expect.
When you start pulling things apart, that’s when you are going to truly know what you’re getting into with a home renovation, say the experts.
For example, there are a number of renovation hassles that homeowners can almost count on.
Home Renovation Tip #1
Tip #1. The big challenges usually show up in the mechanical systems and the windows. The mechanical systems especially are substantial investments in a renovation and can take up as much as a third of a project’s overall costs. So for our first tip is that you have to look at the mechanical systems first to see what big ticket items are there and what it will set you back.
Home Renovation Tip #2
Tip #2. One challenge may be updating and modifying plumbing systems. With a renovation, plumbing lines usually need to be replaced and made longer because homeowners want to reconfigure their existing bathrooms and add new bathrooms. Our second tip is to consider what problems you might have with plumbing systems and what it will cost to make those improvements and repairs.
In addition, hot water pipes particularly have a problem with corroding on the inside, lowering water pressure throughout the house. That’s very common with older houses. As a result, you can sort of predict that you’ll be changing many of the water supply lines.
Home Renovation Tip #3
Tip #3. Consider your water service. Depending on the municipality where the home is located, the homeowner may also be required to upgrade the incoming water service. You usually have to upgrade the incoming water service pipe from three-quarters inches to an inch pipe and occasionally a two-inch pipe. In many towns, homeowners are also required to add on a water meter. For this tip, you need to know that if you plan to upgrade your interior plumbing and want greater water pressure, you might need to upgrade your water service. Upgrading your water service can be quite costly and may also require you or may be the right time to upgrade your sanitary and storm sewer lines.
Home Renovation Tip #4
Tip #4. Electrical is another area during a home renovation where problems can show up. Electrical system headaches relate to a much greater number of appliances now used by a family. In many older homes, you may find only one outlet per room. So you have to upgrade the number of electrical outlets and at the same time, you may need to add receptacle boxes for new lighting.
The existing system may also be reconfigured to include hardwired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. An older home may also be on a fuse box system, which usually needs to be upgraded to a 200 amp circuit breaker box. So, when renovating or performing home improvements, consider the electrical system at its source to see whether an upgrade is in order and budget for that upgrade.
Keep in mind that you might want to have an electrical inspection of the home to know what you might be facing during your home renovation.
Home Renovation Tip #5
Tip #5. Another tip when renovating is to look at the heating, ventilating and air conditioning system. Updating or replacing a heating, ventilation and air conditioning system can also present headaches, although expected headaches. As far as heating, many older homes have a hot water boiler system that feeds into a radiator system. If a homeowner wants to stay with that radiator system because of the even heat that the system produces, they may have to decide on a new way to distribute that heat, such as an in-floor radiant system.
If the homeowner wants to add central air conditioning, that adds a new series of headaches. You can’t tie in a central air conditioner, which requires a forced air system, to a hot water system. You actually have to construct two separate systems, and create ductwork for the forced air system. That can be a substantial investment.
Home Renovation Tip #6
Tip #6. Windows are another area in which home renovation problems can show up. The technology of new windows is much different now from existing windows. For example, there are no storm windows with double and triple pane vinyl-clad windows that also don’t need to be painted.
The headaches come in the decision on whether to put new windows in an addition only – or all through the existing house. With new construction, adding new windows is simple because you can build the frame to perfectly fit the new window. With existing construction, you might have to change the size of the window openings to make the new windows fit. So for this tip, you need to consider what your budget it and whether you are ready for new windows in the home.
New windows may also save you money over the long term in heating and cooling costs. Another savings can come in with lower window maintenance costs when you don’t have to paint the windows at all once you have replaced them.
With any renovation, homeowners should also be prepared to wrestle with any number of unforeseen problems.
In fact, most architects advise their clients to set aside a contingency fund of 15 percent to deal with such unexpected headaches – such as structural and framing problems after opening up walls and removing floorboards or the discovery of a buried heating oil tanks. The final tip here is to remember to expect the unexpected and keep some cash available to pay for those problems that come up during home renovations and avoid mistakes that other people have made.
© by Jim Sulski