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Remodeling a house is an exciting project for any homeowner to undertake. From picking the paint colors to upgrading appliances, the possibilities are endless when it comes to creating your dream home. While it may be tempting to jump straight into the process, there are many things to consider before tackling a remodeling project.

To help prevent any surprises on your remodeling journey, we reached out to experts from Los Angeles, CA, to Vienna, VA, for the top things they wish DIY-ers knew before kicking off their upgrades.

Don’t skip the prep work when tackling a house remodel

Before you start remodeling a house, you’ll want to address any damage to the drywall or structures. Bubbling paint around a bathtub or shower indicates a moisture build-up inside the wall. There’s a good chance mold has begun to grow, and the drywall will need to be replaced. –Patch Pros Drywall Repair and Painting 

Familiarize yourself with the signs of drywall damage and how to repair them. A fracture or crack that looks like Cookie Monster’s smile is indicative of a “lateral shear.” This means that the board has been split in half, necessitating a patch versus a simple re-tape application. –DRR Drywall Repair

Thinking about coating your concrete floor? Surface preparation is key. Even the best do-it-yourself products can chip and peel prematurely, mostly because of deeper issues within the concrete itself. This is why professional installers start with a moisture test, then grind the surface using 600 lb, diamond-bit grinders, and vacuums for the best coating adhesion. –Allbright Painting

Don’t assume any DIY trick works when patching damaged walls. When patching damaged walls, it’s as simple as using a wipe-on wipe-off approach. Use a very thin skim coat of drywall compound to start your patch, keeping in mind that the patch will shrink a bit, and add as needed once the patch has dried. From there, you can lightly sand the area until you reach the desired level of smoothness, and then feather out the entire perimeter of the patch mark. Once the prep work has been completed, you can finish and paint your patch with a fresh coat of paint. The proper prep work to repair any damages will ensure you have a flawless finish when remodeling a house. –ACME Painting & Drywall

Make sure to plan ahead 

Don’t forget about the weather. Some home projects might not be suitable depending on what the weather is like outside. If you plan on painting outside, you don’t want the forecast to show rain within the next few days. Similarly, if it’s very cold outside, you probably don’t want to cut power to the furnace. Contractor Advisorly

You can never have too many electrical outlets. Hide them in as many spots as you can, including drawers, closets, hallways, cabinetry, and outdoor living areas – just about anywhere. You may not need them right now, but as your family and the world changes, so will your power needs. –Brooklyn Limestone

Remodeling a House? Here are the Top Things Experts Wish You KnewKnow your DIY limits when remodeling a house

Be honest and realistic with yourself. When gauging whether or not to go the DIY route, ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I capable of?
  • Can I get the same results as a professional?
  • Do I have the tools for what’s needed for this project?

If you have to purchase thousands of dollars in tools that you’ll never use again it may not be worth it unless you need to fulfill an instinct to work and create something with your hands. My Home Solutions

Don’t underestimate the importance of a budget

Before meeting with a general contractor, have a budget in mind and know what you’re willing to spend on the remodel. You should also have an idea of the materials you would like to use. The cost will range depending on the project’s scope, the price point of the materials chosen, and if the plumbing or electrical need to be moved. A realistic understanding of the budget and scope and how they align is an essential first step to moving forward with clarity. –Sweeten

Reach out to a trusted expert to get a quote before remodeling a house. When you consider the cost of materials and tools required, working with a professional may actually be more time and budget-friendly. –Classy Clutter

Be prepared for additional expenses. If there are signs of water damage in your interior, such as yellowing paint, sagging, or your wall looks “soft” to the touch, it becomes a bigger issue than it appears on the surface. Water damage can spread through the drywall, so we have to take a bigger piece of the wall than homeowners may expect. This results in having to spend extra time blending in the wall textures and paint, which can get pricey. Vasquez Drywall & Painting

Remodeling a House? Here are the Top Things Experts Wish You KnewRemodeling a house is fun but can get messy

Whenever you tear into drywall or wood, there’s going to be dust. Your contractor should try to minimize how much, but it’s nearly impossible to not have some dust during a project. Extra precautions, such as hanging plastic to section off the area from the rest of the house, can dramatically reduce the dust from spreading. –Advanced Builders & Contractors

It won’t always be perfect

You have to learn to live with minor imperfections and accept that your very best is still perfect in everyone else’s eyes. When you work on home improvement projects or renovations in your home you’ll notice small mistakes or imperfections in the end result that no one else will notice. Crafty Little Gnome

Have a clear vision of the end result

Make sure you and your partner are on the same page. There have been many projects that my husband has agreed to without realizing everything involved. By talking through the entire project beforehand you can be sure you’re both ready for everything the project entails. Bright Green Door 

You get what you pay for. Staying on budget is important, but opting for the cheapest option can create more work in the long run. Identify what is easily replaceable vs. what is more expensive and not as easy to replace (ex: showerhead vs. water heater). Then consider how much use an item will get. If you’re an avid bath taker, splurge on the bathtub of your dreams. –Bespoke Construction

Know your end goal. It’s important to have an idea of the end product in mind before starting. It’s very easy to go over budget with a few small decisions upfront. –180 Contractors

Remodeling a House? Here are the Top Things Experts Wish You KnewDon’t be afraid to call in the pros

Vet your house remodeling team. Finding the right contractor can make or break your construction project. We highly recommend getting referrals from sources you trust (your architect, designer, or previous clients), confirm they are licensed and bonded and research their experience by requesting to see and compare previous projects in their portfolio and in-person. A reputable contractor will be licensed, insured, and confident in sharing their work. Current Construction

Know who you’re hiring. The larger the project, the more areas where multiple professionals must work together to stay on time and within budget. And the more critical the space, the more critical the hiring of a professional and competent team to ensure you have a successful experience. Your remodeling project will impact your largest investment – your home. Avoid making costly, long-term mistakes by hiring workers you trust will save you time, money, and heartache. Advance Design Studio

Consult a residential architect. Many homeowners have ideas on how they want to improve their spaces but don’t understand the value of design. A professional architect continually improves upon his/her craft, understands current trends, looks at all possibilities, is attentive to detailed distinctions, and designs with an eye for the future. Involving an architect when remodeling a house can make the difference between mediocre and spectacular results. Commonwealth Home Design

Originally published by Redfin