11 biggest remodeling mistakes

Ignoring local building codes

Building codes vary by locality, and while most routine maintenance items don’t require permits, remodeling changes often do.

You might not know that you need permits for jobs like adding a bedroom, replacing a window or modifying plumbing, or that while your friend in the next town was able to redo her driveway without a permit, your town requires one.

Proceeding without the right permits could result in fines, delays, problems selling your house or even having to redo your project.

To get those permits — and many jobs require several — you’ll have to meet your city’s requirements for safe design and construction.

Even a small bathroom remodel requires permits in San Francisco, where interior designer Katie Anderson is based, and these can’t be obtained without construction drawings, she says.

Unless you are working with a design-build firm, you will need a designer or architect to create those drawings, because many contractors do not draft plans.

Doing the work yourself? DIY jobs require permits, too.

Exceptions include small jobs like replacing flooring or installing a new toilet in the same place.