In today’s post, I am sharing four instances, during my home renovation, where cutting corners (and ultimately being a cheapskate) proved to be disastrous. By sharing my cautionary tales, my hopes are that you don’t have to repeat the same rookie mistakes I have made on my fixer upper journey…
I am all for bargain hunting and price comparing, but lately it seems my penny-pinching tendencies have come back to bite me in the rear.
From being without a dishwasher for almost a month to having a liquor cabinet collapse right in front of my horrified eyes, going with the most “economically priced” items have sometimes actually cost me more in the long run.
Below are four instances where “cheaper” was a big, effing mistake…
1. Low-End Kitchen Appliances:
Opting for lower-end kitchen appliances has definitely been one of the costliest mistakes that I have made during my DIY kitchen remodel.
Within two years of purchasing a refurbished oven/microwave wall combination unit, the microwave component completely went kaput. Unfortunately, the solution wasn’t as simple as just replacing the defective microwave… an entirely new combo unit was needed (requiring an additional investment of around $4000).
Further emphasizing the problem with subpar appliances, just a few weeks ago, a dishwasher which my husband and I have owned for less than a year (the brand starts with “S” and ends in “g”), experienced a mechanical failure for the second time in less than a year.
While we were luckily able to replace the part within a matter of a few weeks, I have completely lost my faith in the brand that starts with “S” and ends with “g” (where water matters are concerned at least). And so…I will forever be prepared with a stockpile of plastic utensils and paperplates just in case!
Lesson learned: In my next kitchen remodel, when appliance shopping at least, I will not let price be the determining factor.
2. Subpar Toilets:
This one is kind of sh*tty to discuss (pun completely intended), but the water pressure and flushing performance of the cheaper toilets we have purchased in the past (we literally went with the cheapest ones we could find), make cleaning the toilet bowl damn near impossible.
Knowing what I know now, I would have rather just spent the extra $50-$100 on a toilet that actually flushed efficiently (especially when you live in a house full of potty-training boys).
3. Cheap Wall Paint:
Back in the early days of our home renovation, I had no clue that paint quality actually made a difference in the finish of one’s walls (just as long as it’s the right color…right?).
As a result, in some of my DIY-painted rooms, I opted for the absolute cheapest product lines of wall paint at the big -box hardware stores.
Then, after hiring a professional painter years later to paint all of the main living spaces of our fixer upper in white (Chantilly Lace by BM to be exact), he gave me a hard time about using the lower quality paint, and guess what? His point was totally valid!
The lower-end paint looked pretty crappy compared to the higher quality line that the professional used for my freshly-coated white walls.
Yes…it can be expensive going with the more premium collections from Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore, but the richer finish will be worth it. Even better? The coverage is more superior which means less coats!
Added tip: When painting my brick fireplace white years ago, I was a slacker and failed to prep the brick with a stain- blocking primer. As you can read in this cautionary tale, I have learned never to skip on the primer when it comes to painting over surfaces like raw wood or brick…ever… freakin’…again!
4. Incompetent Subcontractors:
The hardest, not to mention most infuriating, rookie mistake my husband and I made during our novice phase of home remodeling was hiring incompetent subcontractors as a result of 1.) Simply going with the lowest bid and/or 2). Not investigating the contractor’s credentials or references because there were no other options (it can be very difficult to find contractors in our neck of the woods).
If you have been with me since the beginning of this blog, I am sure you’ve heard me rant about the carpenter who took $3,000 cash from us for decking supplies only to never return.
In that very same year, however, we also hired a landscaper who was not qualified for the job. You see..
My husband and I had received super outrageous landscaping quotes from multiple companies and were beginning to give up hope. Reaching out to just one more company, we were so relieved when we actually encountered someone who we considered to be “reasonably priced”.
Being the naïve kids we were back then, we hired the “reasonably- priced” bidder right on the spot (without requesting any references).
While he did do some work, none of what he planted survived and he basically fell off the face of the earth when we confronted him about it.
Essentially, thousands of dollars were flushed down the toilet and all we have left to show for our investment is two janky Crepe Myrtles.
All that being said, believe it or not, today’s post was not designed to be a mere b*tch fest, but actually a cautionary tale with( hopefully) some nuggets of wisdom which you can refer to during your first home remodel.
Don’t be a total rookie like me, learn from my silly mistakes and thank you so much for stopping by!
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Now get out there and design some good vibes along with a fabulous life.