Home Remodeling Surprises – Are There Problem Areas Behind Your Walls?

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When a homeowner invites a contractor into their home for a quote on a home improvement project, there is a reason it’s called a “good faith” estimate. The contractor is giving the homeowner an estimate based only on the conditions he or she can observe at the time. Because contractors don’t have x-ray vision, they have to assume that everything is basically as it should be underneath the walls.

But as any contractor or remodeler can tell you, there are often home remodeling surprises found once demo reveals what’s behind the walls. If problems are found, timelines and budgets often have to be revised to accommodate for repairs.

Water Damage, Mold and Mildew

Costly water damage can occur when water comes in contact with wood, sheet rock, insulation, or other material like paper or cardboard. Left untreated, water problems behind walls can develop mold and mildew which can cause other health and safety issues. In the worst-case scenario, moisture damage is so severe that support structures themselves are in danger of giving way. In a situation where water damage has been identified, you’ll first need to address the source of the water damage and fix that. Then you can address any remaining mold problems with mold remediation services.


Termite damage is another nasty surprise home remodelers receive when the walls and ceiling are opened up. If termite damage is discovered, it will be important to get a thorough inspection, remove damaged or infested sections and thoroughly treat the home to ward off future invasions.

Previous Remodeling Not Up Housing Code

This can cover a lot of home remodeling surprises, from improper venting to ignoring asbestos and lead issues. Occasionally, in the rush to convert to the popular open concept floor plan design, load bearing walls and support beams have been removed and must be replaced. In many of these cases, you can be sure no permits were pulled because errors like these would rarely go undetected.

Electrical Shocks

The discovery of a botched electrical home improvement isn’t just irritating, it could be life-threatening. Common shortcuts include using wrong sized circuits and splicing wires without a junction box. Note that junction boxes shouldn’t be hidden inside a wall. They must be visible and accessible at all times.


Discovering one plumbing problem often leads to another and another, requiring contractors to open up walls, floors, and ceilings, to make sure that everything along the plumbing system is as it should be. The discovery of old, corroded piping, the wrong kind of pipes and poorly placed drains can also lead to some pretty involved repair work.

If a remodeling project is in your future, don’t let potential home remodeling surprises scare you off. For the most part, once you’ve uncovered a problem lurking behind your walls, a qualified contractor should be able to address the problems – but it is going to add to your final bill.

Home Town Restyling is a full service home improvement contractor with licensed and insured crews on staff for professional installation. Stop by our showroom or contact us today for a free consultation. You can also download your FREE Guide, Iowa Contractor Comparison Guide – How to Make Your Remodeling Project a Success for more tips on hiring the right local contractor.