When most people think about home renovations, they are reminded of the 1986 movie, “The Money Pit.” In this classic movie, Tom Hanks and Shelley Long play a couple who take on monumental renovations of their home. Their experience is nothing but disastrous consequences throughout the project. In the end, the renovations result in a beautiful home but at the cost of the relationship and their sanity.
Real life may not always mimic the movies, but home renovations can come with complications. There are times that during a renovation, your contractor may discover other unknown issues (big or small) that require attention. In this month’s blog, we highlight the typical problems you may encounter during a renovation project and ways to be more prepared for these setbacks.
Prepare Prior to Renovation
If you are beginning a major renovation project in your home, it helps to sit down with an experienced home builder consultant like Prominent Builders to discuss the renovation project in full. While you may have a specific objective for your renovations, it’s always a good idea to consider possible obstacles and be prepared for the unknown.<
- First, having additional room in your budget is helpful in case you come across a problem and need to divert additional money to fix an issue. Always pad your renovation budget with some additional funding for these situations.
- Second, make sure to thoroughly question your contractor about the project, including worst-case scenarios where there could be additional work or issues that need a contingency plan.
- The third important consideration prior to beginning renovation is forming a communication agreement between you and your contractor, so you are kept informed of progress and challenges along the way. Agree upon a regular cadence of check-ins and alerts to problems.
- The fourth, and final preparation is to check with your homeowner’s insurance on what may be covered in the event something is discovered that needs repair.
Even the best plans do not always go as expected. Let’s look at some of the typical issues you may encounter during a home renovation.
1. Structural Issues
If your renovation project includes opening or tearing down some walls to either add or change a space, this is where you may encounter something structural with the home. Structural issues are associated with the framing of the home – the walls, or even sometimes the ceilings. Many times, a contractor does not know what is behind the walls until the first sledgehammer makes its target.
The biggest issue structurally is usually “wood rot.” Wood rot is caused by water damage at some entry point to the wall – whether it is from external entry through cracks and seepage or through a water leak in a shower pan. This type of damage can take a long time to manifest and is often associated with mold as well. Mold needs water, a food source (i.e. wood), and warm air to survive. Not only will the wood need to be replaced during renovation, but the mold should be examined by a certified mold remediation specialist to determine a specific remediation plan.
The other culprit for wood rot may be termites. Termite damage can be extensive and require additional costs to remove the termite infestation, as well as replace all the wood structure that is damaged by these insects.
2. Plumbing Issues
Another common problem that may be discovered in a renovation is an issue with your plumbing. Rust and corrosion will compromise the pipes in your home, especially if the home is an older one. Even galvanized pipes will erode over time and the coatings wear thin, creating rusted pipes. Corroded pipes lead to leaks and water damage and can create a vicious cycle of problems within the home. If plumbing issues are found during the renovation, it is important to update the pipes in the system.
3. Electrical Issues
If you are renovating an older home, you may find that the electrical system is not up to current code standards. Homes built prior to 1940 were wired with a system called “knob and tube” wiring. This wiring is different from today’s standards because wires were separated and traveled along interior walls and held up with porcelain knobs. This older system of wiring poses a fire hazard to homes and should be examined to determine the proper course of action. Even homes built after 1940 may have components that would not pass a code inspection today. For example, older homes tend to have old-fashioned fuse box versus a modern circuit breaker. During renovation, you may also discover that you have limited outlets on the walls throughout the home. Your Prominent Builders consultant will work with you to come up with a plan to address any electrical shortcomings during the project.
Home renovation can be a very exciting and rewarding process. If you take the time to anticipate any potential roadblocks up front, your project will move smoother and, in the end, create less stress and confusion. Don’t be caught in the “Money Pit” by taking a few proactive steps in the renovation process:
- Ensure you have a budget allowance for problems.
- Consult with your builder or general contractor in advance of a project.
- Communicate frequently with your builder or general contractor.
- Check with your homeowner’s insurance on any coverage that might assist you in the event you discover a problem.
The professionals at Prominent Builders and Design can take some of the stress out of the renovation process with our standard way of working with our clients … We communicate with you at every step of the project. Contact us today to talk about your dream renovation project and let us assist you in making it reality.