The completion of a home improvement project can be rewarding in indescribable ways...or, in some cases, the beginning of a brand new nightmare.
Recently, I asked the homeowners of the BuzzFeed Community to share their home improvement projects they were excited about, big or small, that they ultimately ended up regretting in the end. Here's what they had to say.
Homeowners, take note. 👀
1. "I thought it would be amazing to have a penny tile floor in my small bathroom. But I absolutely underestimated how it would take night after night to glue one penny at a time. I even lost my thumbprint for a while from handling all the metal and adhesive. Halfway through, I was over it, but there was no turning back. My wife helped with the grout between the pennies and ended up blowing out her knee. By the end of it, we were screaming at each other. In total, we laid down 12,070 tiles. We loved the final result, but I definitely wouldn't recommend putting your marriage through this kind of ordeal."
2. "We bought a project house thinking we were capable of doing plenty of fixes. And it's gone well so far...for the most part. We've hung drywall, built frames for walls, even torn out a staircase, and built a sunroom in its place! But my biggest regret is that we painted our kitchen cabinets dark blue. Don't get me wrong, they look great, but I spent two days straight and twelve hours total painting them...without sanding them first. Because I couldn't be bothered to prep them correctly, it's now peeling where my fingernails hit it near the handles, and any dings from regular wear immediately take the paint off."
"It looks so tacky, and I know eventually the only way to fix it is to take the cabinets off, sand them, and do the whole thing again. Even the person who came to measure our floors saw the dings and looked at me remorsefully and said, "You didn't sand them first, did you?" And I had to shake my head in shame. It truly haunts my dreams."
—Anonymous, 26, Colorado
3. "My regret is something we didn't do while we have the opportunity to: I wish I had fixed the few remaining, nitpicky details — like painting and caulking — before moving in. After you move in your furniture and unpack everything, it’s so much harder to get out the tools, cover up your stuff, and muster up the willpower to get those things done. Trust me."
4. "I regret putting in a pool more than anything. We thought we really, really wanted a pool, so we spent $60,000 having one put in. After a couple of years, nobody was really using it much. When we got ready to sell out house, it made it harder. Turns out a lot of people don't want one. In the end, the return on investment in terms of house value was less than half."
5. "We recently upgraded both of our bathrooms. Although I love both bathrooms and their designs, my biggest regret is doing white grout in the hall bath. It just always looks dingy and dirty. I wish I would have done a dark grey like in our master bath. It hides any imperfections and stays looking clean and fresh a lot longer than plain white grout!"
6. "I paid $1600 to a landscaping company to plant my garden on a day that was 100 degrees. They didn't use any water, and they didn't backfill half of the plants. Half of the plants died, and when I reached out to the company, their response was that they don't offer a warranty on plants."
7. "Pretty fixtures that cost too much and don't function after six months. My husband wants the house to look good, but I want something to function; I don't care how ugly it is. He wanted the copper-brushed waterfall faucet in the bathroom. It worked and looked great for about five months, then the lime and calcium buildup started and it became a real pain in the ass to clean. Then the handle started to leak. We didn't know where it was leaking from, but it was leaking so bad that it caused severe water damage to the vanity (luckily, just that, nothing else). So $650 later, we now have a new vanity and faucet that I chose."
8. "We love 98% of the renovations we've done, but if I could do it over, I would NOT do hardwood flooring. The kids, toys, pets, sun, and furniture have absolutely destroyed it. Now, that’s a bit of an overreaction because no one who visits sees the scratches or sun-bleached areas or bits of water damage. But I know it’s there, and I hate that I have to think about it. If I could do it again, I would install luxury plank vinyl. It’s a fraction of the price and so much more durable. Looks great too."
9. "Solar! It was the worst decision for us in terms of saving money. Although the panels take up most of my roof, they do not generate enough power for my TWO-PERSON household. The monthly payments we make for the system alone are more than balanced billing through my electric company, and since it doesn't generate enough electricity to cover our usage most months, I am paying on average $100 more a month for electricity. Solar companies should not be allowed to approach new homeowners until they have lived there for a full year. I was majorly ripped off, and now there's nothing I can do about it."
10. "I bought my house brand new and decided that I wanted to put mulch down as part of my landscaping. Only after doing this did I realize that I live on the plains of Colorado and it's windy as hell, so most of my mulch ended up in the grass where I would mow over it, and it would come back and hit me in the shins. I switched to rocks two years later."
11. "We had a three-year-old and needed new flooring. My husband said carpet, but I said wood laminate because it's low maintenance. The carpet was cheaper, so he got carpet and told me it was much nicer and cozier than laminate. Fast forward five months, we're in the early days of the pandemic, and I'm working from home. My three-year-old finds my foundation and covers herself from head to toe with it, coating the carpet in the process. We tried everything to get the stains out, and by the end, it was just a shadow of a slightly darker carpet. It's been three years, and my husband still says he should have listened to me and gone with the laminate floor as long as we had a small child."
12. "I scored a great deal on a fixer-upper, renovated all over the place to my heart's content, but now that I'm looking to move again, the return on my investment isn't looking so hot. The offers I'm getting definitely aren't reflecting the work (and money) I put into the home, and I'm starting to realize that I should've been a little more conservative with my upgrades."
13. "After demolishing and renovating parts of our kitchen ourselves, we went to a big box store for our cabinets. Big mistake. You measure everything yourself, and the design and ordering of your cabinets are based on those measurements. After everything is delivered, someone will come out to your house to officially measure. Better hope your initial measurements were right because if not, things need to be reordered. Finally, we thought we had everything settled and installation began. We ended up finding out the measurements were still wrong, and some of the cabinets were even too big for the wall they were supposed to go on. It's been three months of back and forth trying to get everything right."
14. "The condo I bought had tile flooring, which was okay with me, but there were cracks in a few pieces. So, I decided to replace it with vinyl flooring before moving in. I should have just laid the new vinyl over the tile, but I was talked into removing the tile completely since the ceilings were kind of low. My handyman, who was always reliable and honest, said he could do the work, which he did...but now there are numerous uneven spots since he didn't properly level the flooring before laying the vinyl. It drives me absolutely nuts to walk in certain areas, but there's no way to fix it at this point."
15. "Vibrant, vivid paint. 'Look at this swatch! So pretty! It’ll look great in my tiny office!' WRONG. Bold colors end up looking aggressive and cheap. There's a reason there are a billion shades of 'almost' white in every tone. Shit goes a long way color-wise on a wall. Go for a light color in the tone you like. Or, keep the vivids to ONE accent wall."
16. "Removing our popcorn ceilings. We thought we could do the whole house in one weekend. Three years later, we still only have one room de-popcorned. I tell everyone that whoever said it went 'out of style' never had to remove it themselves. Word to the wise: Just pay someone to do it and save your back."
17. "Cheap laminate hardwood-style flooring that we installed ourselves. Cheap is the keyword there because quality genuinely matters in flooring, not just price. It looked decent at first but after a few years, it has shifted, chipped, and warped. We would have been better off with vinyl tiles or carpeting."
18. "I assisted my parents with selling our house a couple of years ago. We enlisted the help of a real estate agent who was very keen on 'modernizing' our house, which meant ripping up carpets, installing new countertops and appliances, and repainting rooms in boring neutral colors. While replacing the carpets was necessary, the other renovations were pretty pricey (especially since the agent wanted us to install marble countertops), so we were spending a ton of money. Eventually, my parents decided to sell the house themselves. As it turned out, we didn't need to do such extensive renovations after all. We found a highly interested buyer just as the marble countertops were being installed and some last-minute painting was being done. He told us that he would have happily purchased the house as it was since his family already had ideas on how to renovate it."
If you're a homeowner, what's your biggest "homeowner regret?" Or, if you're lucky, the most rewarding project you ever did for your home? Drop yours in the comments below.
Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.