Home Improvement: Things to Look Out For When Remodeling

Ten Things to Look Out For When Remodeling

 home improvement - before you remodel

#1 – Lead based paint.

If your house was built prior to 1978, it may have lead based paint.  If your project involves disturbing more than 3 square feet of wall (interior or exterior), you MUST test for the presence of lead based paint or risk being severely fined by the EPA.  Paint chips are especially hazardous to toddler who may touch the chips and put their hands in their mouths ingesting the poison.

#2 – Asbestos floor tile.

Typically 9″x9″ up to 12″x12″. Even the glues used may contain asbestos.  The danger occurs when the flooring crumbles and dust is scattered into the air and inhaled.  This stuff could kill you with a long painful death.  Have the flooring tested by a professional and if it must be removed, hire a professional remediation contractor.

#3 – Contractors who say no permit is needed.

Other than painting and floorcovering, a permit is typically required for all projects.  Don’t get caught and have to pay a fine.  When in doubt, call your local building department and ask.  Inspections are for life safety purposes and protect you and future owners of your house.  Failing to obtain a permit can even stop the sale of your house if discovered.

#4 – Water damage.

What seems like an innocent brown stain on the ceiling could be the sign of a roof leak, water supply pipe leak, or an air leak around an A/C register.  Don’t disregard this important message from your house.  Investigate the source and make the necessary repairs to avoid major repairs in the future.  Also, if mold has formed, don’t disturb the surface or you can send mold spores throughout your house.  Call a mold remediation contractor to avoid respiratory problems.

#5 – Termites.

If you see mud trails going from the ground up to the floor level of your house, you may have termites.  If you see little wings or droppings along baseboards, you might have termites.  Call a pest control professional before the termites eat up so much of your house that you need structural repairs.

#6 – Property headaches.

Before installing a fence, get an updated survey of your property and have the corners marked.  This will avoid issues with the fence encroaching on your neighbor’s property.  Before doing a room addition, contact the local zoning department and ask what your setbacks are to avoid submitting plans for a room addition that puts the building too close to your property lines.

#7 – Bank problems.

Make sure your bank financing is approved and funded before giving a contractor a deposit on a job.  It would really ruin your day if the financing is not approved, your contractor has already demolished part of your house, and you can’t afford to finish the project.

#8 – Plan.

Don’t draw up plans that don’t provide sufficient detail.  If you think that you will fill in the details later, you may be in for some very expensive surprises.  Sub-contractors will charge for what you have left out and you may not have enough money to finish your project.  Remember, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

#9 – Cracks.

Both vertical and horizontal cracks in a block wall can spell trouble.  There may be uncompacted soil under the foundation or insufficient support of a tie beam.  Consult with a structural engineer to determine the source.

#10 – Illegal wiring.

Many homeowners think they know how to perform electrical repairs.  Although the light or receptacle may work, the repair may be a fire waiting to happen.  If you open up a wall and find spliced wires that are not inside an electrical box, call a licensed electrician.


If you have questions about any home improvement project please call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email me at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and I’ll be happy to share my knowledge with you.

Leading Edge Homes, Inc. is a Florida certified building contractor specializing in improving your lifestyle through room additions, bathroom renovations, kitchen updates, hurricane-resistant screen enclosures, and more!  In business since 1991, they demolish your stress by building your trust. Contact them at 561-795-2551 or visit their website to discover how they can help you with your next home remodeling project in Palm Beach County.