You've planned your
home-improvement project responsibly by figuring out
how much it will cost and putting money aside accordingly.
But whether the contractor
tells you the price is going to exceed his original
estimate or you find yourself buying more than you expected,
hidden costs can leave you spending much more than you
These hidden costs can come from a variety
When you hire a contractor, that person
gives you an estimate of how much it will cost to have
a particular job done. But, "sometimes when a contractor
begins doing a job, he finds out that there's more work
involved than he thought," says Eugene Baldwin,
a home-improvement specialist with home-contracting
company Amerideck in Clinton, Md.
For example, a roofing contractor might
start replacing shingles only to learn that some of
the wood beneath the tile is completely decayed and
needs to be replaced, as well.
Or a contractor may drill into a wall
only to find something behind it that he wasn't anticipating.
"If you get into a job and you need another type
of equipment and have to go out and rent it, it will
cost the customer more, too," says Baldwin.
Some hidden costs might not be so hidden
if you understand the contract.
"The contract should include a description
of the project and a list of what's excluded from the
price," says Paul Winans, chairman of the board
for the National
Association of the Remodeling Industry. "It's
almost more important to know what's excluded than what's
included," he says. Certain tools and building
materials might be excluded, as well as the cost of
the products you want to have installed in your home.
If there's a repair job in which a contractor is not
sure of the extent of the damage, he might find that
he needs to repair or replace a larger portion of the
home than he originally thought.
Sometimes homeowners are directly
responsible for unexpected costs. For example, halfway
through the task of having your bathroom renovated,
you might decide you want to upgrade your tile or choice
of shower fixtures. Unless you choose your brands or
products before the estimate is completed and stick
with them, be aware that your choices will affect the
total cost of the project.
Another factor that can cause the price to fluctuate
is the cost of building supplies. If the job is one
that will take a long period of time, or if you received
your estimate several months before the actual work
began, there's a chance that the price of supplies used
to complete the project will increase. If this happens,
your bill may rise accordingly. If your contractor includes
the cost of supplies in his estimate, ask him before
you sign the contract whether those costs are subject
Posted: April 12, 2006