Published in: Banks | Aug. 25, 2019

4 Home Improvement Projects You Shouldn't Cut Corners On


Thinking of doing some home improvement projects and not sure whether you should splurge on the best, or opt for more economical options? Here are some projects you definitely shouldn’t cut corners on.


man does some electrical work for his house

Image source: Getty Images

Improving your home can be very expensive, and many people end up having to take out loans for home improvement or use a credit card to cover the costs. Still, sometimes upgrades are necessary to maintain the safety and integrity of your home, to make it more livable for your family, or to get your house ready for sale. 

If you’re thinking of making fixes to your home, there are times when you don’t necessarily have to buy the very best. But, there are also certain projects you absolutely should not cut corners on. Here are four of them:

1. Electrical work

Electrical work is not something you should try to DIY, and it’s not something you should necessarily accept the cheapest bid on. When electrical work is not done at the highest safety standards, you’re putting your family, home, and neighborhood at risk. Taking a chance on a fire or explosion is absolutely never worth it.

Other minor electrical work problems, such as shorting-out circuits or chandeliers that flicker, can also be a huge annoyance, and cause you to worry about the safety of your home. So, make sure you hire only licensed electricians with impeccable references, whether you’re doing something as simple as moving a plug, or taking on a major rewiring project. 

2. Plumbing

Although dealing with water issues isn’t necessarily as dangerous as dealing with electrical problems, substandard plumbing equipment or shoddy work on the part of your plumber could cause you major issues. From destroyed floors to mold behind the walls, cleaning up messes made by water leaks can be very expensive. And mold in your home or sewage that backs up can also pose pretty serious safety issues, too. 

Again, you’ll want to make sure that your plumber is well-trained, experienced, and highly recommended. You also shouldn’t buy the cheapest equipment when it comes to faucets, fixtures, and pipes -- otherwise, you increase the chances of springing a leak as poorly made parts wear out. 

3. Permits

Getting permits is undeniably a huge hassle. You or your contractor have to deal with county regulations, including inspections of the work in many cases. And permits can both come at an upfront cost, and sometimes make your property taxes go up, depending on the improvements made to your home. 

Still, not having permits can cause you way more problems than getting them, and can cost you more in the end. You may be unable to sell your house due to work that's been done without a permit, or you may end up having to tear out improvements that aren’t up to code. So, bite the bullet and get the permits required when the project is first being done. It will save you a lot of hassle down the road. 

4. Kitchen cabinets

You and your family will probably open your kitchen cabinets thousands of times per year. The last thing you need is cabinets that wear out easily, open poorly, or degrade quickly when you splash a bit of water on them. 

The difference between high-quality, well-made kitchen cabinets and cheap ones is like night and day, both in terms of how the cabinets function, and how they fit to provide storage in your kitchen. So, if you’re remodeling your kitchen, this is one area in which you should definitely get the best. 

Know where to splurge and where to save on home remodeling

These are just a few key examples of home improvement projects in which it makes sense to pay a premium for quality. 

When you’re deciding whether to scrimp or splurge, consider whether there is a safety risk involved, and whether the upgrade actually improves function as opposed to merely having aesthetic value. You’re far better off paying more on a home improvement project to keep your family from harm, and getting the best for products you interact with daily, because these things will make a huge difference in how you live in your home day to day. 

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