Home improvement projects can be some of the most time-consuming, expensive, and stressful activities of your life. It doesn’t matter if you’re swapping out a faucet or adding an addition to your house, each project has to be considered, planned out, and prepared for. They can also be some of the most rewarding, especially when you’ve chosen wisely and planned carefully.
Here are five key questions to ask yourself each time you’re trying to decide when to start (or not start) a renovation project.
What is the Scale of the Project?
Another way to ask this question is “what are the time and resource requirements to complete this project?” Resources are discussed in the next couple of sections. However, the time aspect of a project is particularly important to consider right out of the gate.
Time is always difficult to estimate when it comes to home improvement projects. You may be told that installing a new water heater takes a couple of hours. However, getting the old unit disconnected, emptied, and removed from the basement is an unpredictable activity that could tack several more hours onto the chore.
Always start with a time estimate of how long a project is going to take. Then add an hour or two to the total just to make sure you’re not underestimating. That will give you a solid idea of when you can fit the activity into your schedule.
What is Your Budget?
Your budget is another critical factor. This will vary wildly with each project that you tackle.
Even something as simple as installing a new floor in the bathroom could balloon in cost once you start ripping up the old floor. You might find that you need a new subfloor, which would also require glue and nails to install. You may even find something nasty, like asbestos, and have to call in professionals to have it removed (more on professional help further down).
Going over budget is practically a surety with most projects. That’s why you should start by sitting down and giving the project a serious once over. What costs are obvious? What ones may sneak up on you? Get a good idea of your budget and set limits to give yourself some financial guidelines as you go along.
Have You Researched the Logistics?
Countless logistical factors go into each home improvement project. Make sure to consider all of these before you start demoing a wall or opening up cans of paint. A few of the most obvious logistical factors include:
- The materials that you need.
- Any tools that you’ll also need.
- Building codes and permits required.
- Help from others.
Once again, do your research and then add up all of the logistical factors before you break ground on your project.
Do You Have the Skillset to Take on the Project?
YouTube is an amazing resource. It can help you take on a variety of otherwise difficult home improvement projects. However, watching videos can also cause you to severely over-estimate your handyman skills.
Just because someone else makes a job look easy doesn’t mean you have the skills to pull it off in your own home. Some home renovation projects just don’t adapt well to a DIY approach. Garage doors, roofs, furnaces, and even drywall, molding, and trim are often better left to a professional. However, keep in mind how this will impact your budget, too.
Are There Other Factors You’re Forgetting?
Finally, before you get started, seriously consider if you’re forgetting any unique factors. Each project is different. It’s impacted by your tools, environment, helping hands, skills, research, budget, and much much more.
What unique factors are you overlooking that could hamper your project if they aren’t prepared for ahead of time? For instance, a few examples of easy to overlook project elements include:
- The weather: Will rain be an issue? Do you need to wait for a warm or dry day?
- Your physical condition: Are you considering painting while you’re pregnant or mixing cement right after throwing out your back? There are times when you can do the former, but maybe you should avoid the latter.
- Space to work: Do you have an area where you can use power tools safely?
- Personal preferences: Do you have styles, colors, or even sustainability preferences that you want to incorporate into a project?
Things like these are much easier to address if you think of them before you start. Trying to add them into the mix partway through a project can be stressful, chaotic, and even impossible at times.
To Start or Not to Start?
Home renovation projects are well worth the effort most of the time. The ability to improve your living space, clean up health hazards, and add value to your home make most projects worth their weight in gold.
However, that doesn’t mean you should tackle every project in the same manner. Start by considering things like timing, budgets, logistics, and skills. Also, consider any nuanced factors particular to each project. If you can lay the groundwork in this manner, you’ll be able to make each project as easy, affordable, and manageable as possible.
Photo is from Pexels
Guest Author Bio
Jori Hamilton is a writer and journalist from the Pacific Northwest who covers social justice issues, healthcare, and politics. You can follow her work on twitter @HamiltonJori, and through her portfolio at Writer Jori Hamilton.