Contractor Tips: 10 Remodel Surprises to Watch Out For

There’s no crystal ball that could tell you what might fail on your house remodeling job, but you don’t need to have the ability to see in the future to be ready for an unwelcome surprise or two along the way. Including a contingency fund that’s 5 to 20% of your funding can go a long way toward averting financial reverses, as will knowing about some common discoveries which include unexpected costs to a job.

1. Asbestos. Get asbestos properly and professionally remediated. This isn’t a place for DIY or to look another way. You will require an abatement contractor to remove the material and give you a report on an aviation that demonstrates there are no fibers from the air. If that is not in the budget, then cut the budget somewhere else. It is that important.

2. Structural flaws.
These often can not be seen until demolition is finished, but you may start looking for hints: cracks, settling floors, crooked door jambs etc.. If you see these, fix your contingency fund so

3. Unreliable contractors. Check references and do your own homework before you give anyone a deposit. If that deposit walks away or you need to walk away from a contractor, you have either got a visit to court ahead of you or a decreased job budget — possibly both. See 10 contractor scam warning signals

4. Neglect on allows.
Permits do cost money, and they are no guarantee that the work will be nicely done — which depends on the individual contractor. However, if you are caught working without a permit, you can anticipate the building inspector will be less inclined to use you and your plan, any you might have to pay fines. Building codes aren’t black and white, especially when it comes to remodeling. You would like a construction inspector involved who will be on your side.

5. Water damage. What looks like just a brown spot on the ceiling may turn out to become rotted rafters and a moldy roof and wall sheathing. Suddenly, what you believed was a ceiling fix job turns in an environmental hazard (mould, like asbestos, should be remediated by a contractor trained in this job ) that necessitates fresh sheathing, a new roof and possibly new siding.

6. Termites.
Where there is water, especially when it’s near the ground, termites are soon to follow. If you reside in a place with termites, the water which infiltrates your walls attracts termites into the walls and floor joists. Correcting this problem in a finished space may mean completely remodeling which portion of the home. The termite inspection which was done when you bought your home should not be the final. Obtaining a problem early may mean the difference between hundreds and tens of thousands of dollars.

7. Property disputes. Before you add on to your house, even when you’re just adding a fence, be certain that you have the property you are building on and that you are adhering to any setback laws or stipulations from the zoning code. If not, this mistake could be costly to reverse once it is discovered. Build your new kitchen 6 inches on the incorrect side of the house line, and you might have to rip that new kitchen down if your neighbor finds out. These disputes may get ugly. Avoid them by having professionals review the actions and submit site programs to a local zoning board for review.

8. Bank issues.
If you’re planning to fund your project with a loan from the bank, be certain loan is set up before you start work. It may be tempting to give your contractor a deposit to get started as you wait on the loan paperwork to be processed. However, if that loan doesn’t go through, you might have just paid for demolition only to find out that’s the only part of the job you can afford.

Bud Dietrich, AIA

9. An unfinished plan. I have said it before, but it bears repeating: Work with a designer and a contractor to think of a plan that’s thorough, affordable and buildable. If you plan to fill in the blanks as soon as you start work, you could realize that some of those blanks end up being much more costly than you predicted.

10. A portfolio program. Sometimes a set of blueprints comes across my desk that’s down to every last detail, and each of these details will be costly. These jobs are exciting once the homeowner has set a realistic budget for your work. Ideally, a contractor is consulted early in the process of developing the plan, advising on ballpark costs and the feasibility of the suggested ideas so that a realistic scope and funding emerge. If this doesn’t happen, you may get a portfolio plan: a design full of the latest, hippest, priciest particulars.

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