I should have known better.
No matter how much experience you have, it’s still easy to make stupid home renovation mistakes.
I’ve been in construction for over 15 years. My focus has been helping owners and clients avoid the common pitfalls of the industry. My job is to help everyday people (who aren’t construction experts) complete projects that meet their objectives, budgets, and timelines.
You know the saying, “Practice what you preach”? Well, despite all my professional experience, I failed to remember my own rules during my recent bathroom renovation.
I woke up early this morning to the sound of dripping water on my bathroom floor. I immediately thought to myself, “I should have known better.” I walked into the bathroom and witnessed a re-creation of Niagara Falls raining my ceiling.
“It was at that moment, I realized that my ‘cheap and easy’ remodel was now turning into a major hassle and money pit.”
First, I chose an unlicensed contractor to handle my remodel.
I mentioned to my neighbor I was planning a bathroom renovation and he recommended a good contractor-friend of his. I did some research on the guy and noticed he didn’t have a contractor license, but he did have good reviews online. I gave him a call and he came out to give me an estimate. He seemed like a nice guy, easy to work with, and the quote he gave me was excellent.
I thought to myself, “what could go wrong, I’m in construction. I can manage contractor better than any overpriced licensed general contractor could.” As I looked up at the gaps in the seal around my new skylight, I immediately realized this was a terrible decision and one of my first home renovation mistakes.
“To get a license, a contractor has to prove to the state that they have requisite knowledge and experience to handle their line of work.”
Now, could a licensed contractor have made the same mistake? Perhaps. A license doesn’t make a contractor more trustworthy, but at least it shows legitimacy. To get a license, a contractor has to prove to the state that they have requisite knowledge and experience to handle their line of work. Again, a license won’t guarantee a successful renovation…
But I am willing to bet that a licensed roofer would know that a roof leaks when there’s a two-inch gap in the middle of it. Read our other blog post about reasons not to use an unlicensed contractor.
Second, I wasn’t involved in the renovation process.
“One of the biggest points I make to my clients is to ‘trust, but verify.’ ”
Finally, saving the best for last, I have no steps for legal recourse.
There is no documentation, I don’t have a contract, there is no licensing entity I can report to. I pulled one of the biggest rookie home renovation mistakes in construction. I thought, “He came recommended from a friend and he seems like a nice guy, It will all turn out okay.”
What I failed to remember is that accidents do happen. Whether it’s from lack of experience, miscommunication, or even a simple mistake. If/when that occurs, you as a homeowner need to make sure you can protect yourself.
“What I failed to remember is that accidents do happen.”
Due to the fact that I hired an unlicensed contractor, he doesn’t have insurance or bonds to cover the damage.
Now all I can do is suck it up and pay for the corrections, only three months after the initial work was completed.
The bathroom and roof repair are tough pills to swallow, but I realize it was all my fault. I should have known better. Sometimes it takes a little bit of pain (and in my case, water) to realize there are no shortcuts in life, particularly when it comes to construction.
For the money I was able to save during my project (from using an unlicensed contractor and not engaging a project manager), I will now end up paying nearly triple to have someone come back and fix my mess.
One thing is for sure, I’ll be there every step of the way during the repairs!
GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners with reliable, thoroughly screened general contractors and provides project support from start to finish. Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next renovation project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com