What I learned from my House Remodel Project

Spray Foam

Should you remodel your house or move? That is the question.  For us, it was an easy answer to the question since we love the town, it’s safe and it has good schools for our kids.  So for us, the only answer was remodeling the house.  So we did our research and knew exactly the problems we would run into and what we could avoid, well at least we thought.

As you know there is a lot to this subject and people have written books so I am not going into every little detail.  I am going to view this from some other experiences that I ran into such as different products. No, not expensive products but products that made the job easier or harder.

The Project

Our remodel was a two-part project.  Our goal was to work on the front of the house which was the existing house.  Then once that was complete, we would start the addition in the back of the house.

The Expected


The house was built in 1924 so I knew the remodel part wouldn’t be smooth.  Since I was doing a majority of this project, I knew there wasn’t going to be a problem with contractors, etc.  This was more on me and whether my budget was good or bad.

Here are a couple of pictures of before and after.  This is just the upstairs where we took the attic and converted it into a playroom.  As you can see I still had to work on the banister.  If you want to see a little more about the project, take a look at the WindsorOne as I have some pictures there.


So we knew that our project would cost more and take longer than we expected.  So no issues there, but it is still frustrating.  We had a concrete company set up to pour concrete in the fall of 2018 so I could enclose the house and work on it in the wintertime.  Well as you would guess, he flaked out and the job never happened.  So I had to wait until next summer.

My framers also backed out because it was a busy time and business was good.  So they realized they underbid the project and bolted.  So I had to go with another company that ended up being a nightmare.  Again, these are things that happen and we were prepared but never the less, still aggravating when things like this happen.

There were other smaller items but that is for another article down the road.  I really want to jump into things that I never read or things that were never told to me about various products.

The Unexpected – Products

The biggest surprises were not the inspections, the budgeting or the workers, it was the products I used.  This was something I never thought about before I started.  Everything I researched never talked about this. This was something that blew my mind because not only did I waste time and money but it was frustrating as heck because it makes something easy more difficult than it should of been.  Now during this project, there were about ten items that I will never use again but I also found a bunch of products that were well above my expectations and made life easier.  I am only going to talk about two items here today because my point is that before you start a project, understand all the materials and products you will be using to help relieve stress down the road.

Scotch Blue Tape

The first product is Scotch Blue Tape.  I am not sure why they sell this tape because it’s pure junk. We used it for painting, epoxy, trim, measuring and more.  The tape tears so easily when trying to take it off and it curls when trying to apply the tape to a surface.  I wasted so much time taking the tape off painted surfaces and it was impossible with the epoxy projects.

I ended up switching over to Frog tape and what a difference.  After painting, the Frog tape came off easily and especially when we used the epoxy for the shelves.  If you want a good tape, go with Frog tape.

Deck Mate Screws

The second item is Deck Mate Screws.  Again, not sure why they sell these because they are pure junk.  I can’t tell you how many had either a head where the bit wouldn’t fit properly or worst yet, it wouldn’t grab the wood to start the fastening application.

Even the times when it would grab, it seems like you had to apply so much pressure to get the screw to grab and work.  Over the years, I have used a wide variety of fasteners and have never seen anything like Deck mate screws. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and maybe I had two bad boxes.  I do know they sell them in the big box stores so they have to be somewhat good or maybe that is the only option on the market but I didn’t have good luck with them.

I ended up switching to other screws and what a difference.  Again, it was more frustrating because of the time I had to spend going to the store, coming back to the house and trying to sink the screws, then going back to return them and get a different brand.  Just a frustrating experience.

My point here is not to complain about products but I wanted to give you two examples as to why one of the unforeseen items is products and something I never thought about before I started the project.

So with that, just make sure you account that things like this will come up and cause a kink in your day, week or month.  Either way, it is a hassle and frustrating.

On the good side, here is just one example of a product I found that was awesome, Ram Board.

Ram Board is awesome.  The only thing I was saving in the house was our hardwood floors so I used this product and it performed better than I thought.  I spilled paint, oil and walked all over the Ram Board and it held up like a champ. Yes, it’s a little more expensive than competitors but well worth it.  For me, I didn’t buy the Ram Board tape as that was expensive.  I just used Duct Tape as it was less expensive.

Wrap Up

In the end, you will always run into unforeseen issues with either workers, the inspection, the products you use or something else, it’s inevitable.  If you go into a project and understand that issues will arise, while it won’t make it less stressful, it will make it easier to handle.

The biggest unforeseen issue with me was products.  For the rest of the items like contractors, money, and inspections, I was aware and prepared for this.  So before you jump into a project, take time and learn about certain products you are going to use because a little research now can save time, money and hassle down the road.


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