Renovations are a very cool endeavour—you finally get to make the changes you’ve always wanted! There’s something truly remarkable about taking a space and transforming it. It’s like the epitome of upcycling, and a great way to get longevity out of your home.
Renovations, however, can be tricky. And when they go wrong, they can go oh-so-wrong. We’ve seen it all, and are going to break down the 8 most important home renovation mistakes to avoid, so your property makeover is a fairytale instead of a nightmare.
- Planning your renovation to your max budget.
In home renovations, something often requires more attention than originally thought.. Maybe it’s mold, or a crack in the foundation, or faulty wiring. Maybe the flooring you were eyeing is out of stock and you need a more expensive alternative, or maybe that subfloor needs some levelling before your pretty tile can be installed. No matter your situation, you need to leave room in your budget to deal with the unexpected.
- Catering to modern trends, instead of your personal preferences.
Trends come and go, and what is in style now will be out of style before you can even say “farmhouse chic.” If current styles are something you truly love, then great! But making decisions based on what’s trendy now instead of what you actually prefer is likely to leave you feeling some renovation remorse down the line. You’re the one who has to feel like your house is your home—so let’s make it feel like your home, not one out of a magazine.
- Going with the least expensive option to save money.
Although you don’t want to plan to your max budget, you really don’t want to skimp just to save dollars, either. Generally speaking, cheaper alternatives wear out faster and just don’t look as good. The more affordable laminate will curl and warp when exposed to the slightest amount of moisture whereas the quality water resistant laminate will not. The result? A ton of time and effort into making your space beautiful, only to see its wear a short while later.
If you find yourself having to compromise at every step, it’s better to downsize the scope of your reno (doing just one room for now instead of the whole floor, for example) or wait until you have the full budget available to do what you truly want.
- Trying to tackle things yourself (with no experience).
Renovations are one of those things that lots of people think they can do themselves (thanks, HGTV!). Some tasks are definitely doable on your own, but other jobs (especially plumbing and electrical!) come with big risks if done incorrectly. Not to mention that permits and inspections are a requirement in most cases, and there are strict safety codes you must adhere to in order to pass.
Even easier items can end up costing more if you have to keep buying more materials due to mistakes. We’re certainly not saying not to DIY, just that some things are better left to professionals, so choose what you’ll do yourself with careful intention.
- Hiring the first contractor you find.
Related to #4, not all contractors are created equal. You definitely don’t want to be left cleaning up someone else’s mess—after all, you’re paying someone to help you, not create more hassle! Before hiring any contractor, make sure you check their references, request their portfolio of previous work, look online for reviews, and ensure when comparing their quotes you look at the value propositioning, professionalism and not just the price. If they come in way below other quotes, are not communicating well, and don’t have any presence online, and can’t provide clear proof of their work—run.
- Choosing products from small samples.
The small swatches you see in stores don’t always tell the full story. We know someone who chose their “almond” siding from a sample inside a store, only to find out after it was installed that by “almond,” they really meant “banana milkshake!” It’s important to view your product in the environment it’s actually going to be in (like taking it outside to see it in the natural light), and viewing bigger panels or full installations whenever possible.
Sometimes, you only have a sample to go off of when choosing things like flooring, cabinets, counters, etc. In that case, most places will let you take those samples to your actual home so you can make sure they match the rest of your motif. Don’t be afraid to play around with combinations, and take a few days to decide. Most importantly make sure you have the right design team on board to plan your individual project. Check with your contractor on how to approach this.
- Not preparing your surface before installation.
There’s a lot of prep work that goes into making the finished product look great and last a long time. Tile doesn’t install well on an uneven floor, and an improperly prepared bathroom wall isn’t likely to be watertight. Further, things like the vapour barrier like underlay on your basement floor can make the difference between comfort or c-c-c-cold for you and your guests’ feet. How you prepare your space is just as, if not even more, important than the product installation.
- Not being honest about how your space will be used.
Hardwood is gorgeous, but if you choose a softer type of hardwood and you have a dog, you’ll see scratches in no time. White carpet can really brighten up a space, but if you have kids, it’s unlikely to stay white for very long. An open floor plan makes your home look bigger, but if you work from home, you may just long for the door you declined to install.
There’s a balance between beauty and function, and it’s important you are honest with yourself and your contractors on how you really live your life, so that you can pick the right products and layout to fit your unique needs.
Make your renovation the dream you always wanted by planning ahead, being realistic, doing your homework, and being intentional with your choices. After all, this was a big decision, and it deserves to be done right.
If you want expert consultation and execution, we’d love to chat! When you’re ready, we’ll be waiting. https://cbrannonconstruction.com/contact-page/