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Watch Your Thumbs and Other Rules of Remodeling

Published: June 15, 2014

Today’s renewed interest in home remodeling has a dark side. Prevent problems with these "rules of thumb."

Rule 1: Safety first

DIY projects can lead to mistakes and injuries. Remember the oldies but goodies: Wear safety goggles; don’t cut electrical lines before shutting off breakers; hammer carefully...

Rule 2: Measure twice and have a Plan B

Take careful measurements and cut once. When you’re re-modeling, you need to be prepared to make changes on the fly. So develop a Plan B. For example, adding new appliances or fixtures may necessitate reconfiguring wiring or plumbing - not something you want to find out at the last minute. Be prepared.

Rule 3: Get a home inspection

Find out in advance about potential pitfalls, so you can plan ahead to avoid them whenever possible. Inspections validate (or not) previous DIY or work done when your home was built. Plus, your home may not be sound enough to undergo some big projects, such as modifying fireplaces, removing walls, or repairing foundations, without professional help. Don’t find out the hard way.

Rule 4: Call the pros

Television and online videos make remodeling projects look easy, but that isn’t always the case. Doing it yourself can save money, but doing it incorrectly may cost more. Don’t be afraid to call in the pros.

Rule 5: Budget first

Don’t start tearing down walls before you come up with a budget. And budget for everything - even the cost of screws and nails - then add 30 percent for unexpected expenses.

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