Any type of home remodel or renovation is going to be costly, especially once you begin adding up all the little things that need to be done – electrical, plumbing, flooring, finishing; it never seems to end. This seemingly endless list of items may lead some homeowners to begin to look for shortcuts, or ways they can cut costs a little to finish the project on or even under budget. And while there are plenty of ways to cut costs – using odd lot material and salvaged items, doing the tear out yourself, or finding discount finishing or surface items – there are also plenty of places where getting the best quality possible matters regardless of cost.
What You Need to Last
There are many components to a home renovation that aren’t going to last beyond 20 years or so. These are mostly surface areas that see a lot of regular wear and tear, and that may fall out of fashion long before they actually begin to wear out. Think things like bathroom tile, kitchen cabinets and counters, and some types of flooring.
Other components to a home renovation are meant to last as long as you own the home – or longer. These are the areas that you don’t necessarily see every day, but that you interact with in on a daily basis, such as your electrical work, plumbing, and foundation. These are the areas that you need to last. You don’t want to put in new plumbing pipes to a new bathroom, only to find that they’re leaking a in a few years and causing extensive damage behind your walls. Likewise, you don’t want to risk an electrical fire because your new addition wasn’t wired properly. These are the areas that you need to last, and therefore these are the things that you need to spend money on.
Do you need to have a rare polished marble tile in your bathroom? No, but you do need to have pipes that will provide you with clean water, a toilet that will flush without leaking into the floor, and a fan that will adequately clear steam and excess moisture from the room.
Let Function Lead
Too many people get caught up in what their home is going to look like after the renovation is done. And yes, it’s entirely reasonable to expect a major change in looks and style. The basics and most important parts of your home can’t be ignored or overlooked, however, in order to achieve that style. If your plumbing or electrical work is outdated, your subfloors aren’t strong, or your foundation is no longer level then choosing to spend the bulk of your budget on the superficial elements of your home is only going to lead to the need for more work down the road, and possibly sooner than you may think.
Choose the best quality materials for the things that matter most. Take your project in stages if you need to, but don’t sacrifice those parts of your home that make it safe and comfortable to live in to get the look you’re after.
Think Long Term
In addition to those behind the scenes components that are so important to your home, there are a few other areas where it may be in your best interests to choose to spend your money. One of these is in your floor. A quality stone or hardwood floor can last 100 years or longer. Contrast this to a less expensive vinyl or laminate floor, which may need to be replaced in 10 to 20 years.
Choosing quality for things like floors, cabinets, built-ins, windows, doors, and counter surfaces is a smarter place to spend your money than on cosmetic things like wall tile, faux painting, landscaping, fancy light fixtures, and decorative ceilings. Think about your home both in terms of how it will look and function for you today, but also in terms of how it will look and function for you 10 years from now. Wall tile, paint, and other surface changes are easy to do and won’t cost much to update again later on. Flooring, cabinetry, and doors, however, will cost you more and are more likely to receive more wear and tear, necessitating a replacement if you use cheaper materials.
Talk to Your Pro
Talk to your Pro about what they recommend for your home in terms of quality and longevity. Let them know your personal style and taste, but let quality and commitment to your property lead the way.