Buying Cheap Materials
“One of the biggest mistakes that people make when it comes to home renovation (is that) they try to be cheap when they buy materials. The bottom line is, you’re going to get what you pay for.” “If you’re going to do it, do it. If you can’t afford to do it, wait.”
2. Inaccurate MeasurementsAn inch or even sometimes a half an inch can make a difference. And if your dimensions are off and it’s not equal and symmetrical, you’re not going to get the full impact and effect that you want. If you’re not sure about how to measure or you can’t follow the directions, don’t hesitate at all to call somebody. Ask them to come over and take the measurement for you.
3. Skipping the Prep Work
Do it the right way, right away. You shouldn’t avoid your prep work. You want to take the time to do it right and right from the beginning.
It’s a horrible, tedious process, and nobody likes it, but it saves so much time later on down the way. And that’s what you’re trying to do: save yourself money and time.
4. Gutting EverythingMake sure you have a well-set plan before you start your renovations because you don’t want to go in there and just clear everything out when you might be able to work around some areas.
People can work themselves into a deep, dark hole that’s very difficult to get out.
5. Excessive Use of Duct Tape
Save the duct tape for decorative purposes only. Duct tape is not a permanent solution. It is merely a temporary fix.
People use duct tape because it’s cheap and it’s quick and it’s easy, but it’s definitely a temporary solution. Don’t leave it up for more than a couple hours, ever.
6. Using the Wrong Tools
There are really three problems with using the wrong tool: You can wreck the tool, you can wreck the project you’re working on and you can wreck yourself.
7. Building a Small Bathroom
If you need a small bathroom, pick the right fixtures. You can buy low-profile toilets and narrower sinks. Don’t try to put full-size fixtures in a tiny, tiny bathroom. It’s just going to be crowded.
Use bold colors and bold prints, because boldness in small spaces actually makes it feel better.
8. Ignoring Lighting
Another mistake that homeowners will often make is not taking into consideration the lighting in their home. The lighting in your home can completely change the colors, the feeling, the ambiance.
There are really three main types of lighting: general lighting, task lighting, and drama or accent lighting. You need a combination to have a really good end design.
9. Going Too Trendy
People often make the mistake of wanting to be too hip and trendy in their new home by picking the latest, hottest, coolest things. What they don’t take into consideration is that trendy means that its short term.
You want something that’s going to stand the test of time, and you want something that’s going to last for years and years.
10. Building Small DoorwaysMake sure you’re looking at the entire floor plan of your home when you’re planning your doorways. Look for, and make sure that every room has multiple exits. If those doorways are in high-traffic areas, make sure they’re wide enough to let multiple people pass through. Make sure you can get what you need through the doors. That is a common mistake.
11. Failure to Anticipate ChaosIt’s important to anticipate the time and the pacing of your renovation. You probably want to do that up front, get it over with and then you can slowly start to piece your life and your home back together.
12. Incorrect Storage of MaterialsYou should always store materials in a cool, dry place. A roll of plastic will save you a lot of time and a lot of money when it comes to wood and concrete. When it comes to tools and such, keep them inside.
13. Not Using Green Materials
People will often make the mistake of not going green with their home project for two reasons: They don’t know how to, or they think that it costs more money.
If you’re doing your renovation green, you’re really ahead of the market right now, so going green is a very smart investment.
14. Using the Wrong Paint Type
People often make the mistake of picking the wrong paint for whatever particular project they may be working on. You don’t realize that there is paint for just about every surface.
Flat is generally for your ceilings and sometimes for your walls. Whereas your semigloss would be for trim in a bathroom or in a dining room, glossy will give it a more upscale look.
15. Building Narrow Hallways and StaircasesWhen you’re renovating, bigger is always better when it comes to hallways and stairs. Narrow seems cramped.
16. Choosing the Wrong Windows
Windows are expensive, and a lot of people try to save money on them, but that’s not where you want to save your money.
You can always put more emphasis on the windows in the front of the house that faces the street. That’s one way to save money, but do not skimp on quality.
17. Forgetting About Safety
The most important things you can have on a job site for your own personal safety are goggles to protect your eyes, ear protection to protect your hearing and gloves to protect your hands from splinters, nails and such. A good set of boots because there are nails and sharp objects everywhere. The last thing is, you must have a first-aid kit.
18. Not Doing Your Homework
You need to know what you’re getting into, even if you’re not doing the work yourself, know what to look for, what your contractor is doing. That way you can keep a close eye on the project and know when something’s getting out of hand.
I think it’s really important to do at least some preliminary work. You want to be able to have enough information to know what questions to ask.
19. Forgetting to Update the Electrical SystemPeople sometimes forget about electric when they’ve been renovating because it’s costly and it’s hidden. You want to walk through the house with the electrician before you start to talk about outlets, where they are, where you want new outlets, three-prong outlets. You want to make sure everything’s up to code.
20. Ignoring Your Home’s StyleYou bought that Spanish home or that Craftsman home for a reason because you liked that style. Keep your new design and new build projects within that style.
21. Avoiding PermitsIf you do perform work without a permit and something serious happens, your homeowner’s insurance will not cover it.
22. Hiring the Wrong Contractor
Make sure that the contractor is right for you, because he’s going to be in your home, and you want to make you can work together well, as you will be spending a lot of time together.
When you interview contractors and you check references, the thing you want to find out is, how fast do they return phone calls? A contractor who returns phone calls fast has nothing to hide, and it’s going to reduce your anxiety level.
23. Taking On More Than You Can HandleWhen people make the mistake of not knowing their limitations, they often take shortcuts. You really do have to know up front where you’re going and don’t jump into things without a plan.
24. Overbuilding for Your NeighborhoodOne of the biggest mistake people make when they’re trying to figure what the payback is going to be is they overbuild for their neighborhood. They have a $500,000 house and they put a $500,000 addition on it, so now they have a $1,000,000 house in a $500,000 neighborhood. Do the math, it does not work.
25. Setting an Unrealistic Budget
People often underestimate what it’s going to cost to do a big renovation, and part of that is because they don’t realize the biggest cost in a renovation usually is the labor.
You never know what’s going to happen once you start the demolition process. As soon as you open up a wall, you never know what you’re going to find behind that wall, so you need to pad your budget, and you need to be realistic.