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A toilet placed right next to a kitchen

We all know that a fantastic home renovation can add value to your home. But what happens when a renovation is done badly?

One of the first things that I do before I start a major home renovation is to remove any shoddy handyman work and start with a clean slate.

Steve Burke from Amerex Renovations and Additions

How to avoid making renovation mistakes

So how can you avoid making costly mistakes when renovating? With 40 years of experience in construction and 20 years of experience in renovations, Steve has put together the ten most common mistakes that he sees being made over and over again.

Make sure that you don’t make these renovation mistakes!!!

  1. Don’t ignore existing issues

When you tear down walls or rip up floors in an older home, there is always the chance that you will find something unexpected. It is better to address these issues straight away, particularly in the case of electrical and plumbing issues. In the short term this can be an unexpected additional cost, but as a general rule, the sooner you fix a problem, the more you will save in the long run.

The old kitchen is pulled out, leaving a blank canvas with exposed electrical points and plumbing.

Image by Amerex Renovations

  1. Don’t choose the cheapest builder or tradie

Using the cheapest builder or selecting the cheapest quote for a trade may save you money now, however, this almost certainly will come back to bite you in the long term.

You need to ask questions such as:

  • Why are they cheaper?
  • Are they using cheaper quality materials?
  • Has everything been included in the quote, or are there exclusions that will cost you extra as the job progresses?
  • Do they have enough experience in what I need them to do?
  • Are they able to provide references so that I can check on the quality of their work with previous clients?
  1. Avoid buying cheap fixtures

Saving a few dollars in the short term may not be wise in the long term. Consider investing in quality fixtures, such as your kitchen and bathroom selections.

Items that are used often are worth spending more on to get a quality product.

Quality choices will mean less repairs and replacements, and they will fare better in terms of wear and tear in the long term.

Quality materials and products also often have additional features that make living easier, making them worth the cost.

  1. Don’t risk amateur painting skills

A home renovation that has been finished with good quality painting can be a joy to behold. On the other hand, poor quality painting can absolutely ruin a beautiful home.

There is more to painting than many people realise.

A home with walls that have not been prepared properly, or have paint drips, uneven coverage and brush marks, not to mention poorly executed ‘cutting-in’, can look amateurish at best. If you can afford it in your budget, I would recommend a professional painter to get the quality finish your home deserves.

Someone doing a very bad job painting a door. It looks messy and they've missed quite a few spots too.

Image by Congerdesign from Pixabay

  1. Beware the latest gimmick or fad items

Beware gimmick purchases or luxury end items that are unlikely to get much use. A great example of this is a pot-filler. A what? A pot-filler is a faucet installed on your stove top so that you can fill a pot of water without having to carry it from the sink. These peaked in popularity in the United States approximately five years ago, and have steadily fallen from favour.

  1. Pick your bathroom tiles wisely

Bathroom tiles do not need to be expensive to look good. A good tiling company or interior designer should be able to assist you with a great design, pattern or colour to match your taste, without costing you a fortune. Save the money and spend it on good quality fixtures instead!

  1. Be careful when buying clearance stock

Clearance stock for appliances or materials such as tiles need to be purchased with caution. If appliances are the last remaining items they may have been on the shop floor for a while. As a result, there may be scratches, minor faults or parts missing that could be difficult to replace.

With materials such as tiles, ensure that you have enough stock for all the areas of your home. You will need to allow extra for wastage and you may not be able to order again from the same batch of stock. This can be an issue as it is common for different batches to have significant colour variations. Mismatched tiles could be a disaster and ruin your final look.

  1. Allow for enough storage space

Build in storage wherever you can manage; there can never be enough. If you are building a second storey, talk to your designer about utilising the space under the stairs. In the kitchen, there are many nifty inserts that will allow you to use space even in the tightest corner. In bedrooms, create walk-in robes or built-in cupboards.

Wherever you can find a space for more storage, do it – and thank yourself later!

Kitchen renovation in progress with plastic drop sheets over the surfaces, a small step ladder, masking tape.

Image by immo RENOVATION on Unsplash

  1. Be careful using your friend, cousin, or mate as a trade

So you have a friend or member of the family who can help you out. Perhaps they are a plumber, plectrician or a carpenter. Many homeowners are budget conscious and getting family or friends to help out can sometimes save money.

However, there are many pit-falls in doing so. If you are aware of the potential problems before you start, then you will be going into the arrangement with your eyes wide open!

First and foremost, ALWAYS ensure that you use a licensed professional for trades such as electrical, plumbing, asbestos removal and anything to do with gas or the structure of your home.

Secondly, even if you know them, you MUST check that a trade has the necessary insurances in place. Failure to do so will leave you potentially liable if an accident occurs.

Last but not least, think about whether you will be able to get them back when you are unhappy with the quality of the work. Could unsatisfactory work lead to a break-down in your relationship with them?

  1. Don’t leave unfinished work

We all know someone who has started a home renovation and has spent years working on it. Their home always looks like a work in progress and there never seems to be an end in sight! While DIY can be a hobby for some, it is also nice to live in a renovated home and to enjoy the features of the renovation.

Don’t fall into the trap that many do, where they only decide to finish off their renovations when they decide it’s time to sell their home.

This means that they only get to enjoy the full potential of their home briefly, just before selling!