Top 12 Biggest Renovation Mistakes
From investing in poor quality materials to setting unrealistic budgets, here’s how to avoid these and other common mistakes when renovating.
1. Purchasing Cheap Materials
We’ve all heard the old saying: “You get what you pay for.” That adage definitely applies when it comes to investing in materials for your home renovation. The bottom line? Don’t try to be cheap when it comes to materials. If you’re going to go ahead with the renovation, then go all in. If you can’t afford to do that, then you’re better off waiting until you are able to do it right.
2. Imprecise Measurements
An inch or even a half an inch makes a huge difference when it comes to most renovation projects. In some cases inaccurate dimensions ruin what you’re working on completely, while for others they can result in an unequal or asymmetrical presentation. If you are unsure or unable to get accurate measurements, by all means find someone to help you. In this case, “close enough” will not do.
3. Skipping Prep Work
Prep work can be an excruciating and tedious process, but its importance cannot be stressed enough. The success of the entire project rests on how well you plan, prepare and execute each step. It’s simple: Take the time to do things right, from start to finish. Also keep in mind that doing the prep work can actually save a lot of time later on — which is exactly what you’re trying to do, save yourself time and money.
4. Gutting Everything
It’s pretty common for people to just start tearing into things without thinking it through. For instance, they go to pull off a piece of wallpaper, and before they know it they’ve gone further than they intended and dug themselves a big hole. That’s why having a well-set plan established before you start renovating is another important piece to a successful renovation. The last thing you want to do is just go in and clear everything out when you might be able to work around some areas.
5. Using the Wrong Tools
To break this down into the simplest of terms, using the wrong tool creates three problematic scenarios. The first is that you can ruin the project you’re working on by using a tool unsuitable for that type of job. The second is wrecking the tool itself. And third? You can seriously hurt yourself.
6. Ignoring Lighting
Another mistake often made by homeowners is not taking the lighting of their home into consideration before renovating. Lighting has the ability to completely change the colors and the feeling of a space. There are three main types of lighting to work with: general, task, and drama or accent lighting. The best design examples consist of a combination of all three.
7. Going Too Trendy
Trendy means short term. If you want something that’s going to last for years, then you have to avoid designs that are too hip and trendy. Stay away from the latest, hottest, coolest things and instead focus on classic, more neutral choices. You can always inject a little bit of something more trendy into your design, but be sure to do it so that those elements can easily be updated or swapped out when the trend has run its course.
8. Using the Wrong Type of Paint
Many homeowners are not aware that there is a paint for just about every surface, which is why they may choose the wrong paint for their particular project. In addition, it’s important to know that flat paint is best used for ceilings and sometimes for walls. Similarly, semigloss is good for walls or trim in a bathroom or dining room, while glossy paints lend a more upscale look.
9. Choosing the Wrong Windows
Because windows tend to be a more expensive investment, it’s natural that many homeowners try to save money on them. But windows are not where you want to scrimp — quality is essential. Instead, consider reducing costs by placing more emphasis on the windows that will be showcased, like those in the front of the house that face the street, and de-emphasizing those that are less visible.
10. Forgetting About Safety
There are certain items needed on a job site to ensure personal safety, including goggles to protect the eyes, ear protection to safeguard your hearing, and gloves to protect your hands from harm. A good set of boots are also a good idea so that nails and sharp objects littering the job site do not puncture your feet. In addition, always have a first-aid kit on hand.
11. Not Doing Your Homework
It’s important to do your homework when it comes to your renovation, even if you’re not doing the work yourself. Know exactly what you’re getting into — what to watch out for, and what your contractor is doing. Educate yourself enough so that you’re able to ask questions and can keep a close eye on the project.
12. Setting an Unrealistic Budget
Homeowners often underestimate the cost of a renovation because they don’t realize that labor is usually the biggest cost. They also don’t understand that once the demolition process is underway, you never know what you’re going to find. As a result, unexpected complications tend to blow up budgets. A good strategy is to pad your budget to compensate for any unforeseen circumstances.