DIY San Diego home improvement

4 DIY Home Improvement Projects Americans Regretted in 2015

What’s more expensive: doing a home improvement project by yourself, or hiring an expert to do it for you?

Before you blurt out “DIY,” check out this 2015 study on homeowners by Zillow. Not only did many US homeowners regret taking on a big home project such as a room expansion or addition on their own, but they frequently went over budget!

Still think that basement refinish will be cheaper if you do it by yourself? Read on to discover the top 4 DIY home improvement projects Americans regretted in 2015, and some potential reasons why.

1. Adding, Expanding, or Altering Rooms (53%)

53 percent of homeowners wished they hadn’t tried to remodel their home by adding or expanding a room.

Part of this might be due to the whopping 42 percent who went over budget on their do-it-yourself project. The other reason for regret might be the general headaches that are involved when you go it alone! Not only is a DIYer responsible for making plans, acquiring the necessary permits, picking out supplies, and hiring contractors, but they’re also responsible for the timeline. And a much-delayed project can really rack up the bill and stress levels (nobody enjoys living near a construction zone for very long). Ditch unnecessary stress, and go with a pro design and remodeling team.

2. Refacing or Refinishing Kitchen or Bath Cabinets (49%)

Right behind our regretful room remodelers, you’ll find 49 percent of homeowners who regret refacing or refinishing cabinets in the kitchen or bath. 20 percent of these homeowners went over budget on this DIY cabinet project, but that’s not a huge number. The main cause for dissatisfaction seems to be a mystery. After all, refinishing cabinets seem simple—until you realize what it entails.

Refacing is not as simple as sticking on a wood veneer. First, you must almost completely disassemble your cabinets, and remove old drawer fronts. Then, depending on whether you have full-overlay doors or flush-inset doors, you must carefully order doors that match the size of the old ones. Then, you must trim the veneer with a utility knife to make it look clean. If you want to refinish kitchen cabinets, you have to remove all hardware, clean and dry your cabinets, prime, paint twice, refit new hardware, and reattach. You can get a whole tutorial on Sunset. (Don’t say we didn’t warn you!)

3. Refinishing a Basement or Attic (48%)

48 percent of homeowners regretted refinishing a basement or attic. At first glance, you might lump basement and attic refinishers in with the group in #1. However, refinishing a basement or attic poses different challenges than a typical refinished or remodeled room would.

First off, an attic has a strict code that includes height rules. Since a finished attic weighs more, you must ensure your home can support the additional weight (those weak floor joists won’t help). And if you don’t already have stairs leading up to the attic, now’s a good time to think about whether you’re OK with using that pull-down attic ladder to reach your newly remodeled space. Oh, and let’s not forget the ghosts up there. OK, we’re kidding! But seriously—when you take all of these restrictions and complex factors into account, refinishing an attic is bound to take longer than you expect and may not turn out how you planned.

Planning on turning that basement into a fun hangout spot? Think twice before you do it yourself. Not only are basements in many areas prone to moisture accumulation, which complicates the refinishing process, but basements by their nature are cold, dark, and damp. On top of this, you’ll need to ensure your electrical is up to code.

4. Replacing or Reinstalling New Carpet in Any Room (43%)

This one’s surprising. After all, it’s just one thing—replacing carpet or refinishing a floor seems so simple—and money-saving. Unfortunately, 43 percent of homeowners regretted replacing or reinstalling new carpeting.

Why the regret? Well, it could be due to the fact that 23 percent went over budget on the project. By comparison, the percentage of homeowners who went over budget while working with a professional on their flooring: 13 percent. That’s a pretty significant difference if we’re talking about a flooring project! Wondering what creates the long faces in the DIY carpet world? Let’s take a close look at a deceptively simple home project.

To start, you need a lot of muscle. If you’re already established in a home that has wall-to-wall carpet, you must move all of your furniture out (or into a room temporarily) while you tear out preexisting carpet, roll it up, and dispose of it. Then, you have to clean the subfloor, which may or may not be in terrible shape. Then, you must remove the doors. Then, install “tackless strips,” which are essentially sharp tacks in thin long boards. After all of that, install the carpet pad (trim to fit—don’t forget to let floor air vent and other obstacles through). Then lay out and trim the carpet. Of course after this, you’ll need to connect any seams in the carpet with glue. And stretch the carpet. And push it into the tackless strips. And use binder bars to finish off edges that don’t connect to walls.

Not exhausted yet? Get every step on the DIY Network.

In case you’re wondering, the least regretted home improvement projects were notably smaller than the ones listed above. Americans were generally happy after replacing lighting fixtures, cabinet hardware, painting rooms, and even installing new kitchen appliances. DIY results in a lot of headaches, and in the long run, you’re more likely to go over budget. Our advice? If you want to do a big home remodeling or refinishing project, we highly recommend you choose to work with a pro!

Get in touch with the Design Studio West team today to get started. We’ll make sure your home remodel or refinishing project is seamless!