Home Improvement Enlightenment

Home Improvement Enlightenment

Home Improvement Enlightenment

Renovations. One of the many adventures in home ownership. While you may remodel to add value to your investment or you simply need to expand for your growing family, renos will put you to the test (for your enjoyment, watch The Money Pit). So how do you avoid the pitfalls? There's tons of advice available (I mean, just watch the movie and you'll know what NOT to do. Like buy a dilapidated piece of junk in the first place) but here's an easy place to start…


Talk to people who've walked that mile in their shoes and lived to tell the tale. They'll mostly all tell you to vet your contractor by getting referrals, visiting old job sites, comparing the competition. They'll recount the horrors of their reno in the hopes they can save your innocent soul from the same miserable fate! Planning it and Living it are two totally different things. But that doesn't mean you can't make your experience better by creating a detailed plan yourself, finding a contractor that provides you with an equally detailed plan, and heeding the advice of those willing to give it. Setting up a “camp of solitude” will save your sanity, safely moving and storing your valuables will eliminate potential accidents, and staying on the same page with your contractor will keep the surprises pleasant or at a minimum. Speaking of clear communication…


If you're really in to saving pennies, but getting the best quality work done, don't be afraid to consult your contractor for money saving options such as lighting alternatives. Tube Lighting is a beautiful, cost effective way to add soft natural light to a darkened room without having to build into a wall and deal with structural and support issues. A hole is cut through the ceiling, insulation and roof, and tubing is installed to funnel in light. Tube Lights are smaller than windows, but they also save up to $1,000.


Remodeling is a hefty investment, but when done right also reaps a healthy return. When it comes to deciding over materials and balancing price vs. quality consider the elements. What sort of wear and tear is this renovation subject to? New siding for a house can be the difference between the upfront, more expensive pre-primed and pre-painted choice or multiple costly paint jobs down the line. Ultimately, where you decide to spend your money is your decision. But carefully weigh your options on a 5, 10, 15 years down the line basis and not just how to simplify in the here and now. If there were a major plumbing issue, would it be better to patch it and finish the reno already saving a buck or two or suffer through a little more time and a little more money now and avoid a worse situation in the future? Taking time to remember the long haul of this whole experience is vital for making your final decision.


Did you know donatable items don't just apply to your unwanted, unused junk and last season's fashions? You can donate furniture (which you most likely know) and old building materials. Habitat for Humanity will take your old cabinets, doors, windows, bathtubs, sinks, and on and on to resale later. Contact your local chapter and they will send a team to do a complete dismantling or pick and choose the reusable bits. There's no cost to you, and you get a receipt for a tax write off. Not to mention, you keep these old materials out of the dump and help the less fortunate at the same time.

In the end, prepping for a reno and being in a reno are very different things, however now you have a few more tools to help you survive. Most important of which may be watching The Money Pit.