Reality TV Fact Check: Debunking Common Home Remodel Myths

Oct 10,19 Tom Piplack
Reality TV Fact Check: Debunking Common Home Remodel Myths

It’s a lazy evening at home. You’re cozy, laying on your couch and watching TV. Of course, eventually you get sucked into your favorite home improvement show, and after watching a couple inspiring episodes of families getting hooked up with their dream houses, kitchens or bathrooms, you’re ready to dial up your local contractor. Usually this is the moment where your daydreams of new, luxurious bathtubs, rich wood floors and shiny, gold appliances come to a screeching halt. Nothing the professional on the phone said matches what you just saw on TV! How is that possible? Like most things related to construction, there goes a lot into it. The number one rule to prevent disappointment here, is to remember that even “reality” TV is more showbiz than unbiased information. Here are the key areas where real-life remodeling differs from TV:

  • Budget

Simply from watching TV shows, it’s easy to get the impression that you can get your high-end dream kitchen for $10,000. In reality, according to data from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), only a mere 8% of kitchen renovations cost less than even $20,000 and for a big majority, the floor is $50,000. There are several reasons for this. For starters, television producers generally shy away from expensive houses. Many shows require the original value of the home in question to not exceed $250,000. This all but guarantees the setting to be in a relatively cheap market, which impacts any other rates as well. Then there are generally three main factors influencing the budget: Prep, Material and Labor. Rarely do TV shows include the first steps in their budget. Inspections for problems with structural integrity, city permits, and most of all design, are either “gifted” by the network or done pre-filming by the owners. The perks of partnering with a broadcaster also include great deals with material suppliers – usually they’re sponsored or fairly generic stock items that allow for a quick and cheap installation. Similarly, labor expenses are drastically slashed by contractors quoting special made-for-TV rates in return for the national publicity they’re getting. All in all, the prices seen on TV have little to no bearing in reality.

  • Time

On TV it always seems like they’re remodeling a whole home in a matter of a couple weeks. This is mainly due to good editing. For a big project, be ready for it to take well over six months and even your average kitchen remodel will require about three months. Why the discrepancy? Before even starting to build, your contractor requires time to get permits, design and order materials. Also, TV remodels usually have a lot more laborers working around the clock, and don’t show work that is not glamorous and exciting enough for the audience – This leads to a wrong perception of time. Real life projects take a while, so plan accordingly!

Like anything seen on TV, home remodeling shows should always be taken with a grain of salt. While they can be a great source of inspiration and motivation, it is important to stay calm and not get carried away by wrong impressions. Rather than relying on cable networks, do your research and get a quote from contractors around you for a realistic estimate. For a real-life assessment of your remodeling plans in Long Beach, call Zieba Builders now at (562) 439-5294 to schedule your free consultation!


Zieba Builders has the experience, expertise, and passion to make your next home project a success. Ready to get started on your design & build project? Give us a call or email us today!