When is your renovation project complete? When you start planning the next one.
Although this is meant to be a joke, not that many homeowners are laughing. After spending a collective $200 billion on home improvement projects, many homeowners have discovered that punch list items often don’t get fixed the way you’d like them, and even the best contractors make mistakes.
Repairing the mistakes after you’ve cleaned up and moved into the new or renovated portion of your home, isn’t fun.
Michael and Sarah have recently finished renovating their home. During the six-month project, they blew out walls, gutted the kitchen, added on a mudroom and screened-in porch, added a half bath, added a master bath and sitting room, and repainted and recarpeted the entire house.
On a recent tour through the house, a visitor marveled at the painter’s ability to match the stucco-like treatment on a new portion of the wall.
“But you can see where the doorway was,” said Michael, pointing to a faint outline that was indeed visible — if someone pointed it out.
Although Michael and Sarah’s punch list is lengthy, most of the items will eventually get repaired. But fixing the outline means the painters have to come back, sand down the wall, retexture it, and repaint it. Any way you cut it, the work would take several days and spread dust throughout the house.
Will anyone ever notice? Maybe. But perfection is in the eyes of the homeowner, not the visitors who come with kids for dinner or a playdate.
All new homes and remodeling projects contain some items that either weren’t finished properly, or punchlist items that weren’t corrected. These are things that even frequent visitors would never notice.
Homeowners tend to look for these items, and once they find them, it’s easy to become obsessed with how something looks.
Michael pointed out how two pieces of wallpaper came from a different lot and were a slightly different color. Unfortunately, the wallpaper hanger put the seams of the different sheets together in the most visible place — in front of the sink.
“I’ll always notice that,” Michael said, acknowledging a mirror would dramatically alleviate the issue and perhaps remove it entirely.
In my own home, I, too always notice mistakes that were made when we remodeled our house five years ago.
Every night when I sit down on the bed, I look at the primed, but unpainted, wood trim around one of the heating ducts. In the kitchen, a strip of birch the contractor put on to finish the area above the stove fell off and was never replaced. The baseboard shoe trim was never painted. And in my home office bathroom, the tile guy never cleaned off the grime from the limestone. Once day, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have to spend an hour or two and scrape it off.
Does anyone notice that my base molding isn’t painted quite right? Perhaps, but my visitors are kind enough (or perhaps just polite enough) not to say anything. Like many homeowners who have survived home renovations, once you’re through with 98 percent of the job, you’re so exhausted that you eventually give up the fight to get everything in perfect shape.
The truth is, no matter how much you do, a house is never in completely perfect shape. There is always a little detail left here or there to finish. And, that usually gets folded into the next renovation project.