8 Common Renovation mistakes…and how to avoid them

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

For many, our home is our biggest asset and by keeping it well maintained we are actively protecting our asset. So why is it then that many cut corners and perform shoddy DIY work that can potentially devalue a home?

Steve Burke, a registered builder with over 20 years of experience in professional home renovations said ‘I can usually spot home handyman work a mile off. Sadly, I often rip these elements out before starting any major renovation work. Adding good onto bad is never a good idea.’

Over the years, Steve has seen the same renovation mistakes being made over and over again. He outlines his top 8 mistakes for us, and more importantly, how to avoid them.

1. Having an unrealistic budget

Can you afford what you have set out to do? If you do not have a realistic budget, you will probably run out of money before you finish. Think it won’t happen to you? Think again.

Solution: Plan and budget your renovation in advance. If you have no idea, ask a professional to provide a quote for the complete scope of works before you start.

2.  Ignoring Existing Issues

When you tear down walls and rip up floors in an older home, there is always the chance that you will find something unexpected. Common problems are the discovery of dodgy electrical or plumbing work done in the past.

Solution: Even if the cost is unexpected it will usually save you money in the long term by fixing it now.

3. Bathroom renovation nightmares

Bathrooms get a lot of regular use and are often the first room in the house in need of a renovation. Performing tasks in the wrong order in the bathroom can be disastrous yet is an all too common mistake.

Solution: Bathrooms are one area of the home that can be the most unforgiving for the home handyman. Save yourself time and angst and get the professionals to do it. Their work will come with a warranty and if you experience any issues it will be their responsibility to fix it.

4.  Changing Your Mind. A Lot!

This one is simple. The more you change your mind, the more your renovation will cost you. The later in the process you change your mind, the more it will cost!

Solution: Indecision often comes about due to lack of confidence in your choices. Consider engaging an Interior Designer for a couple of hours to help you lock in your choices at the start of your project. This will give you greater confidence and reduce your stress levels too.

5. Using Your Friend, Cousin, or mate as a Trade

There always seems to be a family member, friend or mate of a mate that will offer to help you out. Unfortunately, this scenario is fraught with potential pitfalls. Consider how you will 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? Will you agree the costs of the work up-front? These are all ingredients for a nasty disagreement.

Solution: We don’t recommend engaging family, friends or a friend’s mate. We have seen it go wrong so many times.

6.  Doing an awful DIY paint job

Painting is a classic finishing trade and provides the final polish to your home. When this is done poorly it can ruin a fantastic renovation project. The risks for DIY painting include leaving unsightly brush-marks, paint drips and messy edges or taking forever to actually finish.

Solution: be honest about your own abilities and time. If you think you might be caught short in both areas, consider outsourcing to a painting professional.

7.  Buying Cheap Fixtures

Saving a few dollars in the short term is not always wise in the long term. We recommend investing in the best quality fixtures that you can afford in high-use areas such as your kitchen and bathroom.

Solution: Consider the life-time cost of the fixture, not just the initial purchase price. If a cheap choice now means replacement in the short-term, it is probably not the best choice.

8. Tiles on Sale! Buyer Beware!

Tiles can be expensive and finding a tile that you like that is on sale can save you big bucks. But, there are some ‘gotchas’ that you need to look out for before you jump in.

Solution: Ask the Supplier two questions (1) Are the remaining tiles all from the same batch? Tiles from different batches can have vast colour variations which can ruin your final look. (2) Are there enough tiles remaining in stock for future repairs and wastage? Tiles on sale could be end of line stock. Don’t get caught short.