As professional architects, we’ve seen more than our fair share of misconceptions about adding a room or expanding a home. We value our clients and understand their concerns, but there are a number of misconceptions that deserve a very direct response.
We’ve actually assembled a list that we call the “5 Home Addition Myths,” and will do our best to demystify or debunk them for you.
- “It will cost way too much to bring in professionals so we’ll do it ourselves” – This is the one we hear the most and it continues to surprise us how people who are earning over $100,000 a year of more don’t understand that their time is money! Every hour they spend researching materials and physically working on their addition or renovation is an hour they are not spending on their real job. The average home owner probably makes more per hour than the workers they would hire to complete a project. They almost always take longer to complete the project and create problems that could have been easily avoided had they talked with an architect before beginning their project.
- “It will be easy, we’ve got everything we need – Because so many work from home these days, they think it would be easy just to slip in a few hours at lunch time or in the evening to work on the project. Almost 100% of the time, they underestimate the amount of time involved in a project and what looks like a couple of days often turns into months. For example when they peel back the wall in the bathroom and discover black mold it will require far more extensive work than originally planned. They will likely have to buy a wet saw for cutting tiles and purchase all kinds of other specialized equipment not found in the average tool box.
- “Oh, we can see what’s wrong, it’s no big deal – What looks like a few loose shingles may hide much bigger problems. If a roof has been in place for more than a few years homeowners will likely discover the damage on the roof is not just the shingles but could require replacing roof boards. Rather than stop and call in the experts they plod ahead not realizing they could likely have completed the project in far less time and with better results by consulting with an architect or other professional who has seen the same scenario more times than they can count.
- “As long as we stay with the four walls, we won’t have any structural issues” – unless you have the original blueprints of your home and know how to read them, you likely have very little understanding of what a load bearing wall is, or what things are hidden in the walls of your home. Most of the infrastructure of your home is “behind the walls” and you can cause yourself lots of headaches if you are not careful. We know of countless homeowners who have drilled into plumbing supply lines and wind up spending thousands of dollars recovering from the water damage. We know of others who began tearing down a wall only to discover that it housed the main truck lines for their HVAC system. Architects and other building professionals have the experience and the tools to avoid these kinds of nightmares.
- “We can do a better job” – This one hurts the most because although homeowners may have many skills in their chosen profession, they are not likely to be finish carpenters. Professional interior carpenters have many tools and tricks of the trade they use to add value to your home.
Again, we respect that every potential client wants to get their renovation completed as inexpensively as possible, but there are definitely times when doing it yourself is the wrong approach. Homeowners can often avoid the headaches and added expense of hidden problems by working with a qualified professional from the beginning.