19 Home Improvement Myths Busted
Think doing it yourself always saves money? Wrong. Find out more about this and 18 other common home improvement myths you should stop believing ASAP.
Always Go Big on Renovations and Improvements
Instead of thinking big, think realistic. You may want a giant bump-out addition, but will the cost of that addition or remodel pay off in the long run? Plus, would the improvement make your home look ridiculous compared to other homes on your block? That is a potential problem when it’s time to sell.
Cracks Can Cost You Thousands in Repairs
Cracks in the wall aren’t always that big of an issue. Most are just the result of small seasonal expansion and contractions, it doesn’t mean there’s a structural failure. To be safe, call a structural engineer to check it out.
Wallpaper Works Anywhere
No, wallpaper does not work anywhere. If not hung properly, wallpaper will look horrible. Also, depending on the room, it may be prone to fading or condensation. Before choosing to wallpaper, you should consider how it will look three, five and 10 years from now. Once you put it up, you are not going to want to go through the process of removing it any time soon.
DIY Always Saves Money
Just because you’re handy, doesn’t mean you should always do a home improvement project yourself. Things like major roofing projects, some electrical repairs and upgrades, and structural work may need the expertise of a professional. It’s always best to know and admit your limits.
Remodeling is Easy and Fast
Remodeling a home is no small undertaking, but one of the more recent home ownership myths has been driven by the rise of televised DIY projects. This so-called “Reality TV” effect has given a whole generation of viewers the impression that most renovation can be accomplished in 48 hrs, with plenty of room in the budget for a big reveal party. Unfortunately, that’s not normally how things run. For one thing, the flow of a reality show remodel is scripted, and the small crew shown is usually supplemented by a larger group of pros who do the lions share of work once the cameras are turned off.
Reality TV shows are great fun, but don’t fail to separate reality from the myths of reality TV. Instead, get a reality check free of myths with our ultimate guide to surviving a DIY remodel.
Green Means Expensive
It’s true that some “green” home improvement products can be more expensive than their traditional counterparts, but it’s not always true. Going green—whether it’s converting to solar or using green building practices —may save you money in the long run.
Pools Add Value
If you think adding a pool will boost the value of your home, consider the location. If you live in a warm part of the country, pools may in fact add value. But if you live in the Midwest or on the East Coast, pools can be a more of a liability as they cost a lot to maintain in the winter and some home buyers just don’t want one.
White Walls Will Help You Sell
If you’re planning to sell your home, a common myth is that you need to paint all the rooms white or beige so potential buyers can visualize themselves in the home. Instead, splashes of color done tastefully throughout the home can help sell a home. White can make the home look painfully bland.
An Added Bedroom is Better Than a Bathroom
First, consider how many bedrooms and bathrooms you already have. If you only have one bedroom to start, adding a second bedroom is probably the smartest home improvement choice. If you have three bedrooms and only one bathroom, you might want to add another bathroom before adding a fourth bedroom.
A House Needs to Breathe
One of the most long-lived of homeownership myths is that you shouldn’t interfere with drafts or air penetration because houses need to “breathe.” Well, a house doesn’t need to breathe but it does need to be able to dry out, vent any combustion fumes and provide the people who live in it with fresh, circulating air.
Often referred to as “tight” houses, construction that limits air infiltration is perfectly acceptable with modern building science by pulling in and circulating air in a strategic fashion. More to the point, don’t let a desire to allow for a breathable home prevent you from basic maintenance like sealing up drafts around windows and doors. A little bit of common sense and some simple research will help make sure that you’re not creating a staid air pocket that might encourage moisture retention. Of course, if your home already struggles with mold or mildew, it’s important to get started remedying the issue ASAP! Here’s a solid primer on combating mold and mildew.
Jo Ann Snover/Shutterstock
Hot Water Tanks are Maintenance-Free
There’s Nothing Behind the Refrigerator
Go With Trends
Just because Pantone named ultra violet the color of the year, doesn’t mean you should paint every room in your home purple. If you want to try trends, stick with one room or try making small changes, like adding accessories or creating an accent wall.
You Can Use Cheap Products and Fixtures
Sometimes this is true. Perhaps you can get away with a cheaper countertop in your basement bar area. However, just because two products look the same, it doesn’t mean they are. A $30 bathroom faucet may look just like the $150 version, but the $30 version may be made with plastic instead of stainless steel and you may end up replacing it sooner.
Paint Hides Everything
If your walls have some damage, you can’t just slap some paint on them and call it good. Whether you have a ding in the drywall, some mold or damage from termites, you need to eliminate the source of the problem, and fix the damage before you paint over it.
When Painting, You Need to Tape All Edges
Not so! Yes, tape is a great tool to use when catching drips and creating perfect lines. However, applying the tape and making sure it’s perfectly smooth does take a ton of time. So if you don’t need it (and you’re confident about your painting), just skip it!
Sean Locke Photography/Shutterstock
All Home Improvements Add Value
It’s no secret that improving your home has the potential to boost its market value. But not every dollar you spend impacts your home’s value. If your roof leaks, for example, a replacement will simply bring it up to the minimum standard expected by most buyers. Similarly, if you decide to build an elaborate home gym that takes up most of the second floor, you may find that buyers may view that as an imperfection, rather than a selling point.