Denny + Gardner Home Remodeling Blog

Home Remodeling Blog from Denny + Gardner

Mistakes to Avoid When Remodeling in Northern Virginia & Washington D.C.

You’re about to embark on an exciting journey: Transforming your home in Northern Virginia into a more functional and attractive environment. While there is plenty to look forward to during and at the end of this process, it requires time, patience and persistence to get from Point A to Point B.

The home remodeling journey is also fraught with pitfalls that can complicate your project and lead to unintentional costs, delays and headaches for you and your whole remodeling team. The good news is that several of these common mistakes are avoidable with the help of careful planning and preparation.

Easley dining room remodel


Home Renovation Fails & How to Avoid Them

Home remodeling is a complex process with a myriad of moving parts, as well as staying on top of the latest trends and styles. It’s normal to experience small, unexpected hiccups along the way. However, with all the time and money you plan to invest into upgrading your house or a particular room, you have good reason to take measures to avoid or mitigate major mistakes that could significantly derail your project. 

As you prepare for a kitchen, bathroom, an entire basement, or whole home makeover in Northern Virginia or Washington D.C., here are some of the most common remodeling mistakes and what you can do to prevent them:


1. Attempting to DIY When You Should Hire Pros

You love your home and you want to do what you can to maintain its value. However, you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew when it comes to home improvements. That includes any project that involves major structural changes, electrical or plumbing upgrades, or transforming your design style. Most of these projects require a permit and the right equipment and practical knowledge to execute them accurately. You don’t want to risk wasting thousands of dollars on materials or putting yourself in harm’s way when hiring a professional remodeler could ensure the project is done right the first time.


2. Not Acquiring the Proper Permit

Starting a renovation without a permit is another costly mistake that is easily avoided. Different jurisdictions in the D.C. metro area have different permitting requirements that are governed by specific agencies. For example, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) issues alteration and repair permits for remodeling in Washington D.C., while the Arlington County Permit Office and Land Development Services in Fairfax County have their own permitting processes. You also will likely need inspections during your remodel, which serves your best interest to ensure the work is done up to code. Additionally, if you’re renovating a historic home in Alexandria or D.C., your project may be subject to a different set of criteria or neighborhood regulations governed by your local homeowners association.


3. Hiring a Remodeler on a Whim

Once you’ve decided to hire a contractor to assist with the design and construction of your project, you have to carefully vet remodeling companies in Northern Virginia to find the best choice for your particular circumstances. Homeowners often run into problems when they make this decision without careful deliberation or research. After all, the remodeler you hire will influence nearly every facet of your residential project. You want a team that understands your vision, offers rigorous communication, and can execute a sophisticated design that balances function with aesthetics.


4. Not Setting a Realistic Budget

Home renovations are an investment into the value of your property and your long-term quality of life. The problem is that some homeowners jump into a project without first establishing priorities and a rough estimate of how much they can and want to spend. Or they may have unrealistic expectations about how much their renovation will cost. Your project price will become more defined as you collaborate with your remodeling team and make specifications, but you should do some preliminary research and set a ballpark range for your residential renovation or expansion.


5. Putting Too Much Emphasis on Appearance

You can derive continual joy from a beautiful home, and modernizing your kitchen, bathroom or whole house in Northern Virginia may be one of the top priorities of your upcoming remodel. However, you don’t want to sacrifice function or safety for the sake of form. As you’re renovating, give proper attention to securing your foundation, making sure the subfloor is sound, removing hazardous materials, and/or updating your plumbing and electrical systems. Also, think about the demands of your daily life. Granite or marble may look nice in your kitchen, but do you have time to make sure it’s properly maintained? Will young children scuff up an elegant hardwood floor? Is an in-law suite appropriate aesthetically for your living space? Are all household members accommodated by your design choices? You have to live in your home day in and day out, and you want to be able to do so comfortably and conveniently.


6. Being Unprepared for Daily Disruptions

No matter how excited you are to upgrade your home in the D.C. metro area, it takes time, and you may be without access to key areas—such as your kitchen or master bathroom—for several weeks. There also will be an influx of noise and debris around your house. Fortunately, you can prepare yourself for these disruptions and less-than-optimal circumstances. Talk to your contractor about setting up a temporary kitchen. Plan a short vacation to get refreshed partway through your project. Set up safe zones for children and pets. Talk to your friends and family members about doing a couple meals at their homes. The more preparation you do, the smoother and more stress-free your renovation will be.

Drake Kitchen Remodel


Optimizing the Home Improvement Experience in Northern Virginia

There are numerous logistics to figure out when it comes to residential remodeling, but it doesn’t have to be a nerve-racking or stressful experience. When you hire a professional remodeling team, such as Denny + Gardner, you have someone on your side who has already gone through this process multiple times in Alexandria, Arlington and the entire Northern Virginia region. We know what common mistakes to keep an eye out for and what steps to take to prevent them. With our guidance, you can create your dream home and have a rewarding experience along the way.


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