Not a week goes by that we don’t help someone out who is experiencing project creep. Project creep, one of the top home improvement mistakes, happens when homeowners set out to change one “simple” thing in their home only to realize, halfway in, that to do the job right, more is needed. The following example should help you avoid project creep and can be applied to a change in your bathroom, a change with your flooring, a change with anything, really.
Your Hideous Kitchen Countertops: An Example
We all hit that point where we know the kitchen countertops must go. They’re outdated. They’re worn. They’re ugly, hideous in fact. You’ve lived with them long enough and it’s time for them to go. But, you still like your backsplash – you had it changed a couple of years ago – and you see no need to change your cabinets right now. You plan to do that in a year or so.
So, you decide to move forward with just the countertops. You’ve picked out your pattern, measurements have been taken and installation has been scheduled.
- Have you considered your sink? Is your current one acceptable? What about when you decide to change your cabinets? Will it still be okay?
- Have you considered the height difference between your new countertop material and your old ones? Will there be a gap between your backsplash?
- Have you considered how you will slide your old cabinets out from under your new countertops when you decide to change them next year?
- When you change your countertops next year, will you want to stay with the same kitchen layout?
- If you think you may want to change your kitchen layout, what will you do about flooring?
- And if you think you may want to change your kitchen layout, what about the plumbing? Will you want to move your sink? If you want to move the oven and microwave, how will you get the gas and electric lines moved?
We could continue asking questions about the kitchen, but what we really want is for you to avoid home improvement mistakes altogether by asking yourself:
“What else is related to this project?” and “What else could possibly be affected if we decide to change X?”
After you’ve asked these questions, make a list – a thorough one. You may be surprised about how things are interconnected and how changing one “simple” thing may mean changing many.
And always, after you’ve made your list, seek a second opinion. Or, if you have no idea how things are connected in the area you’d like to change, ask for help. Talk to a friend who’s been through a remodel. Talk to a contractor. Or, better yet, bring your plans and ideas with you and stop in to see us at Eheart. We’ll be happy to take a look. In the end, your project will go much more smoothly if you are proactive and work to understand the complete picture ahead of time.
Also, if you’re just starting to think about remodeling, check out our handy Home Remodel Return On Investment Guide It’s full of stuff we think everyone, who’s doing a remodel, should think about and will definitely help you avoid additional home improvement mistakes.