When you’re deciding to renovate your home, the possibilities feel so exciting. You can finally fix that kitchen layout that never quite worked for your family, or renovate your basement to accommodate your newfound love of exercising. Dreaming of the ways you can alter your space to truly fit your life and then putting those plans into action is pure joy, incarnated.
Certainly, deciding to renovate your home should be a positive experience. Yet, there are entire shows (okay, entire TV channels), dedicated to showcasing renovation nightmares. How does this dream turn so sour for so many? Nobody starts out on this journey intending it to go sideways, after all.
In short, the answer comes down to planning. It’s easy to get caught up in the possibilities and overlook the realities. With the right intention, however, you can plan for both and make your renovation experience smooth and successful. To help, we’re breaking down the top five things you need to know before you get started.
- Don’t judge a book by its cover.
It’s an old adage with so much real-world application. In the reno world, this means that what you see on the outside is not an indication of what’s going on underneath, especially if you have an older home. You may think that you’re just putting up new drywall, but what happens when you pull down the old stuff and find mold?
Always budget for the unexpected, and %15 of your budget for dealing with the unknown.
- Everything is an add-on.
A common mistake during renovations is to not account for small extras in your budget. An extra few bucks here and there may not seem like a big deal, but trust us when we say they add up quickly. And most of the time, you want to stay away from the lower-priced or value brands if longevity is your goal (and it should be). Make sure you’re accounting for the extras and the quality you really want, so you don’t feel like you have to make sacrifices later.
- Follow the code.
Building codes exist for your safety, and it’s important that you follow them. Plus, there can be some pretty serious consequences for not adhering to them, including fines or even having to remove any improvements you make.
Make sure you get permits for your renovations before you start, and keep in mind that there is processing time to be granted these (so don’t wait until the day before you want to start). Adhere to all codes, and get your inspections done at each stage.
All of these things can add time, particularly if there are things you have to change to pass inspection, so check with your municipality for current turnaround times to get a better sense of what you’re looking at.
- Budget for waste.
You’ve probably heard to measure twice, and cut once and it’s solid advice. No matter how precise you are, though, you will still end up with odds and ends of material and you just can’t use every inch of every product. Not to mention that it’s very human to make a mistake every once in a while.
Always add 10% extra materials, so you’re not left with a bare patch at the end. For example, if you have 500 square feet of floor to cover, buy 550 square feet of tile. Nothing’s worse than rushing to the store because you ran out, only to find out they don’t have any more in stock! Any leftovers are fantastic for future fixes.
- Know your role.
Did you know that out of all DIY projects, 55% of plumbing jobs, 32% of electrical, and 28% of large appliance installations are abandoned? That’s because these jobs require significant skills to do correctly and safely. And incorrect plumbing or electrical work can be outright dangerous!
We often opt for DIY in an attempt to save money but, if you’re winging it, DIY can actually end up costing you far more.
When it comes to renovations, know your limits and hire a professional for the rest. Better still, hire a professional for the entire project and save yourself the stress and mess of trying to figure it out for yourself. That way, you get expert consultation from the get-go, and results that will last a lifetime.
One bonus tip: be realistic with your budget. You don’t have to do everything all at once, so be honest with what you can afford right now and how much that will cover. Then you can come back to other projects as your budget allows!
We like to refer to this as a phase renovation plan.
Renovations are exciting and it’s our goal to help you plan for the result you want, so you can truly enjoy the space you create. With our years of experience and industry know-how, we set you up for success. The Brannon Way means we follow a schedule of meetings throughout the whole project. We want you to feel confident and know that everything is on track during each phase of the renovation.
If peace of mind and beautiful spaces is your goal, get in touch today.