When homeowners are considering a home remodeling project, they diligently plan the future so there are no surprises. They work hard to find a reputable remodeling contractor for the house renovation work. Almost always homeowners have concerns about the quality of the work and how well it will be performed by the prospective general contractor. These are legitimate concerns, such as, will the work be a quality job; will the work come in at budget and will the work meet the requirements of local city or county codes. These are all important concerns, however, there is one other major consideration that is very frequently overlooked-will work from the past be an issue in the future?
Many homeowners never consider that in order for new renovation work to be compliant with local code requirements, they will also be inspected on past work completed on the home. For instance, past renovations by a bad contractor, or even a DIY (do-it-yourself) weekend project, can jeopardize the integrity of new renovation work being approved by a home inspector.
I recently ran into a very good example of this on a recent garage remodel. I was contracted as the general contractor to perform a series of garage improvements. My remodeling company was hired to put vinyl siding on the exterior of a garage along with some additional work of repairing some old rot and inactive termite damage on the interior of the garage. I was then to finish the interior of the garage with drywall, trim and paint. After replacing all of the damaged wood inside and outside of the garage, we hit a complication when it was time for our framing inspection. Evidently, the rafters in the garage had been repaired several years ago and unfortunately did not meet current codes. Although repairing the rafters was outside of the scope of our project and not in the budget for the homeowner, we had to replace the previously bad repair job before the home inspector would even consider signing off on our part of the structural rehab work. In this case, the city building department’s view was that we had to bring all of the structural framing into current code in order to get approval for our repair work that was in the walls below the attic assembly and rafters.
The worst part of the situation? The rafter repair work was performed before the current homeowner purchased the home. So, we are not sure if it was a DIY weekend project or the work of a bad contractor that possibly didn’t have the adequate permits and inspections at the time. So, the lesson learned that I want to pass on to those who are looking to complete a remodel project themselves or hiring a remodeling contractor. Before doing DIY patchwork on your home or hiring a questionable contractor to do the work, be careful. These decisions have possible consequences that loom in the future. Sometimes the consequences may take years to present problems for you. These problems could prevent you from future renovations or even prevent you from selling your home. The most important lesson is to do it right the first time or it may hurt your wallet in the future.