7 Common Renovation Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

By HomeAdvisor

Updated August 10, 2020

Building a new home worker

Courtesy of A&M Construction

A home renovation project is a great way to give your space a fresh new look. But these jobs often aren’t as easy as they seem, and can be tricky to tackle on your own. It’s important to research and prepare ahead of time to avoid making costly mistakes, and talk to a remodeling pro to help make sure the project goes smoothly. Here are seven home renovation mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Measuring Incorrectly

Wooden kitchen cabinets

Image Credit: Granada Kitchen, Inc., Anaheim, CA

One of the biggest home project mistakes you can make is also one of the most common, especially for do-it-yourselfers. Measuring incorrectly can cost you a lot of money and cause a lot of headaches. Being off by even a fraction of an inch can mean over- or under-purchasing materials, or not having enough space for appliances or furniture.

Measure your project multiple times to avoid making this mistake. And if you hire a pro to renovate your bathroom, bedroom or other area, make sure they check your math before ordering any items or materials.

2. Focusing Only on Appearances

Bathtub surround - tile

Image Credit: Pixabay

Appearances shouldn’t be your only goal when it comes to completing a renovation project. Don’t skip out on making necessary repairs and avoid choosing a lower-quality material for something that you can’t see. For example, ignoring the substructure of the tile in your bathroom can lead to tile damage or mold growth. Neglecting to repair or replace pipes and wires now means having to tear up your newly renovated space to access them later. Get the most out of your investment by making necessary repairs and investing in quality materials that will stand the test of time.

3. Choosing a Short-Lived Design

Black & tan kitchen

Image Credit: HomeAdvisor DesignMine Gallery

A home remodel is a great way to bring your interior style up-to-speed. But make sure you’re choosing a timeless look over a trend so you can enjoy your space for longer. Plus, having a timeless design can make it easier to resell your home in the future. Stick to neutrals, sturdy materials and classic looks to keep your home looking great for longer.

4. Using the Wrong Kind of Paint

Paint color slips

Image Credit: Pixabay

Many people spend hours comparing paint samples to find just the right color for their home. They don’t put nearly as much time or thought into the different types of paint available. Manufacturers make paint for every surface in your home and they are not all the same, so it’s important to know your paint types before starting a project.

  • Flat paint does not have a shine, shows marks, and is not easy to clean. Use this type of paint on ceilings and on walls in low-traffic areas.
  • Semi-gloss and gloss paints have a nice shine and are a better option for walls in bathrooms, kitchens, and other high-traffic rooms.

5. Spending Way Too Much Money

Modern ktichen

Image Credit: Capitol Design LLC, Austin, TX

Many people who take on a home renovation project often end up spending more money than they anticipated. This is often the result of poor planning or opting for too many high-end upgrades. While you don’t want to be too frugal with your materials, you also don’t want to spend more than you need to. You can avoid overspending by planning out your project ahead of time and creating a budget. Make sure that you leave some wiggle room for unexpected expenses that may come up during the renovation. Once you have an estimate, increase that number by 20 to 30% to give your finances a cushion.

6. Not Interviewing Enough Contractors

Plumber working on a sink

Image Credit: Pixabay

Even if your home renovation project is a DIY, it is a good idea to have some professionals on call to help should the need arise. Renovations that involve plumbing, electrical, or other complicated — and potentially dangerous — jobs are best left to the professionals. Attempting these projects without knowledge or experience is a recipe for disaster. At the same time, take your time when finding and hiring a contractor. Compare quotes and check references. The lowest price does not often mean the best job. Make sure that the contractor is thorough when making an estimate and open to communication so that you can achieve the desired outcome for your project without going over budget.

7. Purchasing Materials Too Early

Wood materials for room

Image Credit: Three Brothers Flooring, Oceanport, NJ

Whether you’re buying flooring, appliances or fixtures, purchasing items before you plan out your project is a remodeling mistake. You need to have accurate measurements and a clear idea of what the completed project will look like before you start purchasing supplies and materials. Low prices on an unexpected sale might be tempting, but you could end up losing money when you find out that your new appliance is the wrong size or that you didn’t order enough flooring and now the store is sold out. Make a plan with your contractor, set a budget, and then purchase your supplies.

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