Remodeling Rules to Keep or Break

From on December 12, 2008 in General Remodel

BrokeYou’ve heard the saying that there’s an exception to every rule. Or how about the one about how some rules are made to be broken? I suppose everyone develops their own level of discernment about which rules to keep and which rules are, perhaps, just a matter of opinion, and it’s really up to you whether or not you choose to abide by them.

I was exploring “Rules for Remodeling” the other day, to see what guidelines the experts give for homeowners who are planning to remodel some aspect of their homes. I discovered a variety of suggestions put forth as “rules,” based on the expert’s experience. Many of these are such common sense guidelines that it’s easy to see why they would be presented as rules. I’ll share some of these here, and then you be the judge of whether these are rules you want to keep – or break.

The Golden Rules of Remodeling are set forth on WelcomeHomeowner.com in an article that’s simple and makes a good case for following the rules:

Let Reality Govern Spending:


Use the existing size and value of the house compared to the rest of the neighborhood to help determine how much to spend on the project.

Focus on Blending Old and New


Find ways to give the addition the same look and feel as the existing house, while using modern materials and observing modern zoning regulations and building codes.

Avoid the Pitfalls of Over-Extending


Determine which parts of the job you can sensibly do yourself and which should be subcontracted to professionals.


Each of the rules is dealt with in more detail, directly pertaining to an example, an addition project involving a new sunroom, half-bathroom and kitchen expansion. It’s educational and gives food for thought about the wisdom of those rules.

Another source for remodeling rules is an article called Remodeling – Seven Rules of Survival, by Arrol Gellner, for The Real Estate Information Center. He begins, “Reams have been written about the glamorous part of remodeling… but problems and surprises are endemic to the remodeling process. These can be minimized by careful planning and a healthy dose of pragmatism.” The rules he presents are accompanied by a bit of detail; in brief, they are:

  • Educate yourself
  • Set a realistic budget
  • Know where to save and where to spend
  • Do as much of the work yourself as you can, but be realistic about how much you can do and how well you can do it
  • Choose a contractor (or an architect) by what he builds, not by what he says
  • Be prepared for more of everything (time, expense, disruption, etc.)
  • If you need design help, get it

I don’t know about you, but I’m all for learning from the experts – especially when their rules make such sense.
And therein lies the answer to which rules to keep and which to break – do what makes the most sense to you. After all, it’s your house and ultimately all the choices regarding your remodel are up to you. You can play by your own rules if you want to!