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  • Writer's pictureThe True North Handyman

6 Home Improvement Myths to Stop Believing Right Now

Don't lose out thanks to common home improvement myths. Check these out before you start swinging that hammer!

The Top 6 Home Improvement Myths

1. Remodeling Always Adds Value

In today's fiercely competitive real estate market, many home owners are looking for ways to increase the value of their homes, either with small renos or major overhauls.

The thing is, not all remodels will add value to your home.

For example, bathroom and kitchen renovations are the most popular home improvement projects, and you can generally expect to recover 75% of your investment. Replacing an outdated vanity, old plumbing and lighting fixtures or adding a new tile floor — will guarantee a lot of bang for your buck and give your bath an updated, modern look.

On the flip side, finishing a previously untouched basement may not net you what you think it could. Plus, you may just lose that window of opportunity if the renovation takes too long. Our best advice? Have a realtor come in and offer their opinion on what the before and after could look like.

2. If I Run Out, I'll Just Buy More

It may seem rare that your chosen materials won't be available, but it happens more often than you might think.

Manufacturers routinely discontinue batches, or stores will choose not to stock different products, meaning you'll be stuck without - either forever, or for a long time depending on delivery. This can be very common with things like hardwood, laminate, or tiles.

Getting stuck at the end of a job and needing only 4 or 5 tiles to complete a backsplash, or just enough flooring to finish the closet, will leave your frustrated and running around like a chicken with their head cut off. Not fun!

It’s best to plan for and buy all the materials you’ll need for a project before you get started. The best advice is to plan for least 10-15% additional, to make up for any unforeseen damages, extras, or waste.

3. Fix Instead of Replace

Another of the common home improvement myths is that it's always cheaper to fix something rather than replacing it outright.

In some cases, sure, a fix can work wonders. But other times, that repair may just end up costing you down the road, especially if it doesn't actually *fix* the problem to begin with.

When something breaks, consider its age, quality, and condition. If it's still in pretty good shape, and it's something you'd hate to part with, consider repairing it. If it’s something that has had its day in the sun, and is well worn out, it's probably more cost effective to replace it.

4. Paint Covers Everything

Oh, paint.

Paint does wonders for giving a room a fresh new look or disguising minor imperfections, but it can't work miracles.

If your wall has noticeable nicks, mold, or any other kind of damage, a fresh coat of paint isn't what you need to start with. Instead, consider filling or patching holes first, or addressing the mold issue, then you can break open that can.

5. You Don’t Need a Permit

For many home improvement jobs, this is true - but not all. And believing this myth could cost you. In general, you don’t need a permit to do things like paint, rip up or install new flooring, or even add kitchen or bathroom cabinets. However, any type of demolition will probably need one. There same holds true if where you’re changing a window or door size, building a deck, or even some massive renovations (building a bedroom in the basement). If you’re planning a major overhaul, it’s always best to check with your local township to find out exactly what’s required. Yes, getting a permit can be a pain, and they are not free, but if get caught without one you could face a fine or be required to remove the renovations (and that’ll just be a waste of money!).

6. It’s Cheaper (and Faster) to Do it Yourself

And last but not least - and arguably the most important of the home improvement myths - DIY.

Now, this may seem biased coming from a handyman, but we’ve seen it many, many times before. With all the DIY videos out there on Facebook and TikTok featuring pros making DIY tasks look easy, we’ve had more calls than usual from people who’ve started a project only to find themselves in over their heads. Sure, there are lots of small DIY tasks that can be done if you have some basic skills, but if a job is the least bit complex, it’ll save you time and money bringing in an expert. To best gauge whether the job is in your wheelhouse, ask yourself these questions:

  • What’s the scope of your project?

  • How long will it take?

  • What materials do you need?

  • Do you have the equipment on hand?

  • Is the project you’re planning likely to affect the plumbing or electrical wiring?

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