Common Home Improvement Myths Exposed

By: Danny Lipford

Myths and fairy tales are great for books and bedtime stories, but when it comes to your home, it’s probably not a good idea to believe everything you hear. Here’s the truth behind several of the most common misconceptions surrounding the home.

1. You can’t go wrong with trendy

Remember pink ceramic floors and harvest gold appliances? It’s no secret that design trends come and go so it’s always better to stay with neutral colors and practical choices when selecting materials.

Research and plan—then research and plan some more—to make sure your space will match your personal style preferences. Start by looking through magazines, at websites online, and by visiting home centers and showrooms to find colors and styles that not only suit your taste, but give a timeless feel.

2. Remodeling always adds value to your home

We all want to bring life to outdated spaces and infuse them with our own personality. There’s nothing wrong with that, but adding an unusual feature that few people will appreciate can make it harder to sell the home later.

Where you see a pool as a place for summer fun, many potential buyers will see liability, added maintenance, and additional expense. The Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report reveals that home improvements don’t always add a dollar for dollar return to your investment.

Projects that top the list as ones to think twice about include a home office remodel, which on average only recoups about 57% of the investment, and a sunroom addition, which gives a 59% return. Just remember that there are pitfalls to every project and some of them may cost you more than you bargained for. On the flip side, making too many expensive improvements that exceed what’s found in your neighborhood can come back to haunt you when it’s time to sell.

3. I can save money by doing it myself

Thinking of designing a remodeling project yourself? Not so fast. . . . Few homeowners know enough about building codes or have the experience of professional builders or designers.

Think it through before you commit to doing all the nitty-gritty work yourself. Granted, there’s plenty of home improvement advice available, but ask yourself if you have the skill, time, or license required to perform the work.

A remodel or home improvement is a big commitment and while tackling it yourself can sometimes save money, it’s important to know your limits and not be afraid to seek out the help of a professional. At least if they make a mistake, it doesn’t come directly out of your wallet, and it’s on their time, not yours. If you’re able to take on a project yourself, or a smaller part of a large project, be prepared for mistakes. No one’s perfect!

4. If I run out, I can always buy more

It’s best to plan for and buy all the materials you’ll need for a project before beginning work in case items are discontinued or have different batch or lot numbers. That or you’ll have to wait for weeks for additional materials to be ordered. Remember to figure in at least 10-15% for waste as well.

5. Going Green is expensive

Some green products do cost more, but the additional cost is actually lower than you might think. As an example, major paint manufacturers now offer paints that are low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for less than $2.00 extra per gallon.

But who says going green needs to be about buying more stuff? Sure a new high-efficiency heating system or energy efficient windows saves money and natural resources over the life of the products, but it can cost nothing to start living green by making smart choices in everyday activities, such as by:

  • Dressing appropriately for the temperature outside. Then program or raise your thermostat a few degrees higher in summer, and grab a sweater and lower the thermostat in the winter.
  • Turning out the lights when you leave a room. Keep at it until it becomes second nature.
  • Unplugging your electronic toys or use a power strip. Things like TV’s, DVD players, and many AC wall adapters continue to use electricity even when not in use. Power strips reduce this “phantom” electricity draw.
  • Using less water by turning off the faucet when brushing those pearly whites or scrubbing dishes. Try taking shorter showers as well.
  • Reusing rather than throwing away to reduce waste. The Freecycle Network is a great resource to help find a new home for useful items that you no longer need.

6. It’s just wallpaper, we can hang it

Slapping wallpaper on a wall looks simple, but this is one of those projects that can quickly become a nightmare. Before tackling, consider the room you want to paper. Any obstacle within the room, such as a vanity or toilet, will require that you cut the wallpaper and match it up to go around it—not always an easy task to do.

7. Cracks in walls indicate big problems

Most cracks are a result of normal expansion and contraction and not a structural failure. In the rare case when it’s something more serious, however, you may need to call in a structural engineer.

If your home is exhibiting several symptoms of foundation problems like expanding cracks, sticking doors, or uneven floors, you may need a foundation repair. Experienced professionals can give you an accurate analysis of your home and design a foundation repair solution.

8. Only one more trip to the home center and I’ll have everything I need

It’s good to be optimistic, but it’s also very hard to anticipate or remember everything you’ll need, so never say…last trip!

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4 Comments on “Common Home Improvement Myths Exposed”

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  • Armando Hernandez Says:
    July 22nd, 2016 at 12:52 am

    A lot of these things I’ve heard from many of my clients already. I couldn’t agree more.



  • Austin Foundation Repair Says:
    June 3rd, 2010 at 8:51 am

    Re #7

    Absolutely right. Most cracks are to be expected, if you suspect foundation problems, call several professionals for different opinions. Don’t let a contractor who is not trained make an evaluation, or do any foundation repair work on your home.



  • Tena Says:
    January 25th, 2009 at 7:02 am

    Neutral colors are safe, but they are also boring. Don’t be afraid of color and frankly if you have a place that’s unique, interesting and filled with color and excitement, you will probably love it so much you will NOT want to change it anytime soon. You don’t have to follow trends, just do what makes you happy. People who play it safe always
    want to change things, so their missing the point altogether
    and it’s ok to take a walk on the wild side occasionally. The actual objects you use to decorate with can be changed very easily and try a vintage resale shop to get rid of the old and try something new. Alot of times people don’t get rid of things because their old or broken, but because they to want a new view (get it)!!!! I’m redoing my place slowly, trying new things and loving every minute and aspect of it. It’s your place and it should reflect you, not somebody elses ideas of what’s safe and acceptable, so enjoy my fellow home decorators, embrace the adventure.



  • bedroom decorating ideas Says:
    January 19th, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    i love these articles. i definitely agree with going green
    is so expensive. lots of money is involved.

    bedroom decorating ideas


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