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Common renovation mistakes you can avoid

We’ve compiled the typical renovation mistakes that have been made by so many, allowing you to avoid them. When you look at your end product, you can have a sense of pride, not remembering all the issues and noticing imperfections.

Starting a renovation project is such an exciting time. The huge potential for a fantastic transformation is what makes people jump headfirst into the process, without considering the common renovation mistakes others have made.

Unfortunately, these mistakes can ruin your remodel. After the renovation project, you want to look at your end product with a sense of pride, not remembering all the issues you had while noticing all the imperfections.

If you’re just beginning your renovation, then perfect, you’ve come to the right place. We want you to experience the best results.

Keep on reading to learn about the most common renovation mistakes made by homeowners. We’ve covered kitchen remodel mistakes, home improvement mistakes, and much more.

Common renovation mistakes to avoid

Typical home improvement mistakes

There are a few renovation mistakes that are made by homeowners again and again, so it’s always worth putting a little time into researching the way to do things properly before beginning. One such mistake is racing ahead.

Being in a hurry

Don’t rush into a process you’re unfamiliar with. If you can, start by living in the property for a little while. This will enable you to get a good feel for the space and how it works for you.

The flow of your rooms, the layout of fixtures and fittings, and even the way the light falls within the space can make a big difference when planning a renovation. If you’re investing a substantial amount of money, it’s worth taking some time to think about the changes you’re planning to make. Then consider whether they’re the best for you moving forward. After all, when you live somewhere you will have other ideas come to mind and what you initially set out to do may change.

Try to save future energy and costs by getting it right the first time.

Not doing your research

Another renovation mistake made by eager homeowners is not doing thorough research. As the well-known saying goes ‘Act in haste, repent at leisure’.

There are many things to consider when renovating your home and these need to be researched before you begin.

Not budgeting enough

Be realistic with what you want and set aside a contingency in case any unexpected problems come up. For example, your tradesperson may need to increase the spend by 15% due to unexpected labour costs, which should be taken into account from the word go. You should also add in a buffer for material costs, in case they rise during your project.

Here are some of the most important areas to look into before starting:

  • Contractors
  • Building design
  • Planning permission
  • Building regulations
  • Materials
  • Fixtures and fittings
  • Trends/style/colours
  • Budgets
  • Energy efficiency

A few less well-known areas to be considered and looked into are:

  • Property ceiling value for area and the risk of ‘over development’
  • Environmental considerations/restrictions
  • Utilities impacted by proposed works
  • Structural implications
  • Access to your home
  • Party walls/impact on neighbours etc
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Remodelling mistakes you can avoid

So, you’ve decided to remodel your home. Congratulations, what an exciting time ahead!

Having said that, you need to ensure you avoid a few major remodelling mistakes for brilliant results.

Long term considerationsStair lift installation cost

Let’s start with a more popular remodelling mistake people make – not thinking of long-term considerations.

When designing your home remodel, don’t just consider how it suits you now, think about how it’ll affect you in 5-10 years time.

For example, if you have arthritis, will you want to be climbing 3 flights of stairs to a loft conversion in 10 years’ time?

Furthermore, if you have chronic health problems, will your doorways be wide enough for wheelchair access should you need it in 5 years’ time? If you have back problems, will you want a low-level cooker in the near future, or would it be better to have an oven at eye level to minimise bending?

Should you decide to render the front of your home, it will require ongoing maintenance and cleaning, will you physically be capable of doing this? Do you want to be climbing ladders in your 60’s, or paying for annual maintenance?

Always try to think ahead. What may be manageable for you right now, might be impossible in the years ahead.

Poor planning

Again, getting excited and jumping into a project with no planning usually creates issues down the line.

Say you’re planning to open up the end of your property by removing doors or taking out windows, then choose a time of year to start the work that won’t leave you and your family chilly. You don’t want to be pouring concrete in temperatures under 3 degrees.

Another scenario is if you’re losing your kitchen whilst your remodel is being done, where are you going to do your dishes? How will you prepare meals? Do laundry? Always establish a plan prior to the work starting. This will minimise the stress in your household.

Consider what will happen when the project is finished. Are you going to be able to get your furniture through the doors, up the stairs etc? Are the doors opening the right way into the room? Is your new bathroom being positioned in the best place for water supply/drainage?

Using the cheapest contractor

Before beginning a remodel you should look to speak to at least three professional tradespeople. To find qualified professionals near you, we suggest you post your job here and we’ll send three tradespeople your way.

If one quote is much lower than the others there will be a reason for this. There could be hidden costs that you won’t find out about until the end of the project, suddenly making your ‘cheapest’ quote, the most expensive in the long run.

You should also ensure that the contractors you choose are skilled and competent to undertake the project. Check that they aren’t cutting corners to save money and that they have estimated and planned for all aspects of the work you are hiring them to do.

You can even go as far as to get references, look up the contractors on the web, check for customer reviews and feedback, look at their body of work or check their accreditations.

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Home renovation mistakes you can avoid

Renovating a home can be a complex and difficult process with many legal and technical issues that could crop up. One of the major home renovation mistakes involves not looking into the legal ramifications of the job.

Not checking what permits and permissions are requiredPlanning appeal costs

You always need to check these essential legal factors at the design stage. Fortunately, some minor house extensions may fall under permissible development, and you may not need planning permission. Although you should review the rules of your Local Planning Authority.

You MUST always check this before starting your remodel. Be aware, if you do not get planning permission and end up needing it, you can be given an ‘enforcement notice’ meaning the work will need to be undone at your own cost.

Aside from planning permission, most new structures or changes will be subject to Building Regulations. For approval, you’ll need to submit architectural drawings and/or a Building Notice. Approval can range from 2 days to 8 weeks, depending on the size of the project.

Using a contractor that does not have insurance

If a contractor doesn’t have the right insurance and things go wrong or someone gets hurt, you could be forced to pay to repair the damages and financially support the injured individual. You could even have to go to court to pay damages and legal fees.

There are two types of insurance your contractor will need to have, and it is worth checking whether they have:

  • Public liability insurance: Be prepared to ask contractors if they have insurance to cover against injury or property damage. For example, your home or your neighbour’s. If they don’t have public liability insurance, you might want to think about getting your own cover.
  • Employers’ liability insurance: Contractors who work through a company are breaking the law if they don’t have this. It doesn’t matter if it’s their own company or not. Employer’s liability insurance is there to cover you and the company if they’re hurt on the job.

If you have home or contents insurance, it’s a good idea to contact your insurer to check you’ll be covered during the work. What’s more, you may have to pay more for your insurance during and after the project. Your insurer will probably want to know what contractor you’re using and what insurance they have. They might suggest that you take out joint insurance with the contractor.

Not asking questions, or taking notes

Another home renovation mistake is not asking the right questions or noting down essential information. Remember, this is your property, your money, and you have a right to ask for clarity on any points you do not understand.

Never worry about looking foolish, if you have a question, then ask it! Follow up enquiries with emails, to keep a record of key points/disputes within the process and keep them as a record. This may help you with any future disputes over-invoicing and payment requests once the project is finished.

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Home improvement mistakes you can avoid

Broken floor as a result of renovation mistake

We all strive towards living in a beautifully decorated home with the perfect layout and aesthetics. For those who struggle with money, the only option to achieving their dream is to do the work themselves.

This is where common home improvement mistakes crop up, and you could end up in a worse situation than when you started.

Using cheaper/lesser quality products

It may be tempting to save money by buying low quality, affordable products. And while you may be on a tight budget, it doesn’t always pay to go with the cheapest option. Ideally, you want your products/finishes to last and to be fit for purpose.

For example, if you have a large family with dogs, you will want a durable, hardwearing, floor finish, designed for heavy traffic.

Bear in mind that if you don’t go for the appropriate product, you will end up having to redo the work, with all the expense and inconvenience that goes with it. Also, moisture-resistant paint may be more expensive than your standard matt finish emulsion, but if you don’t use it in your kitchen/bathroom, you will regularly have to repaint and the long-term costs will be greater.

Having unrealistic expectations

You may have a clear image in your head of how you want your home to look, but this isn’t always possible. Things rarely go 100% to plan. There will always be unforeseen issues to be resolved, as you can’t see under the floorboards/ground or inside the walls until you start work.

Furthermore, there may be plumbing, electrical, or structural issues that will need addressing in addition to the planned works. Be prepared for the unexpected, and always have a contingency fund of 15-25% in addition to your initial budget. The process will be noisy, messy and there may be delays due to weather, material supply problems, building inspector visits etc.

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Kitchen remodel mistakes you can avoidLamenting remodelling mistakes

Remodelling a kitchen can be a messy, complicated process. But, by avoiding the following kitchen remodel mistakes the process will be much smoother, allowing you to achieve your ideal kitchen in no time at all.

Not planning the layout correctly

Before beginning, take the time to properly plan your new kitchen’s layout.

The optimal kitchen layout has a triangle formation of oven, fridge and sink. Other points to consider include allowing enough room to open the dishwasher, oven or fridge and having ample room to stand when using your appliances.

It is always worth allowing plenty of worktop space, to suit your requirements for serving food, washing up, food prep etc.

Consider your lighting plan too. If you aren’t very tall then ceiling height upper cabinets may not be the best choice. Ask whether you have enough power points for all your kitchen appliances, and are they well-positioned? Do you have enough storage?

Not planning for plumbing considerations

Plumbing is essential for any properly functioning kitchen and needs to be carefully planned out. Check where the waste pipe and mains water are located. Then position your sink and dishwasher accordingly.

Or, you may need to allow the expense and disruption for a plumber to reposition the pipework. Plus, if your fridge has an ice and water dispenser then you will need a mains water supply to the fridge.

Not enough ventilation

Remember, cooking creates steam. Decide how you are going to ventilate the space from steam and cooking smells? It may be worth installing either a recirculating extractor fan, or one that is linked to an external wall, venting outside.

Not having a survival plan during your remodel

Always make sure you are prepared for your kitchen being out of use during the remodel. Ask yourself, how are you going to feed the family whilst work is undertaken? Furthermore, where are you going to store all your kitchenware, food and drinks during this time? Where will you clean the dishes?

Not choosing products fit for use

Depending on your intended use for your kitchen, you will need to plan accordingly. A high gloss finish on your kitchen cabinets may not be practical if you have a young family with sticky fingers.

Alternatively, if you have a large family, you may want to consider a 5 burner hob, a double oven, a double sink and a large dishwasher.

Not telling your home insurer

Please note, without the right insurance in place, if there was a fire or leak at the property during the kitchen remodel, you wouldn’t be covered by insurance.

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Bathroom renovation mistakes you can avoidBathroom renovation

Renovating your bathroom can have incredible results in terms of aesthetics and practicality. You could add a whirlpool bath, beautiful tiles or even a walk-in shower. So, to get the bathroom of your dreams, avoid the below common bathroom renovation mistakes.

Lack of ventilation

Showers and baths create steam, and if you want to avoid mouldy tiles, then you need to have an extractor fan fitted. This is particularly important if there is no window.

Poor planning

Another bathroom renovation mistake is poor planning. You need to plan the layout of your new bathroom carefully to prevent future issues. Position your plumbed items, (bath, toilet, sink etc.) in the correct spot to allow adequate drainage. Also, allow enough room, to use each of the plumbed items comfortably and be aware of door openings.

Furthermore, when building a shower enclosure over a bath, the depth of the tiles must be considered, as every millimetre counts! Consider whether you have enough storage. Where are you going to leave your toothbrush and spare toilet rolls?

Think about where you are going to position the shaver point. Can you position a mirror nearby for convenience? Also, decide how you are going to light your bathroom and whether you would rather have a towel rail or radiator.

Choosing style over substance

It is always worth choosing practical bathroom fittings rather than just picking the best looking. For example, if your heart is set on a rainfall shower but your water pressure is low, you may end up with just a trickle.

A better idea is to select the shower unit best suited to your water pressure and water heating system. A tiny porcelain bowl sink may look pretty, but is it fit for purpose? Or, if you have a family, you may want a soft close toilet to stop little fingers from getting trapped.

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Want to know the best way to avoid all mistakes?Checkatrade Professionals

Work with a professional!

While it can be a great way of saving money, taking on a huge renovation project is not a job for a DIY beginner. For excellent results, your best option is to hire a highly qualified, experienced tradesperson to complete your remodel.

As we said, no renovation experience will be completely flawless, there will be hiccups along the way. By having a professional tradesperson by your side, you can rectify and overcome any issues with a level head.

Use our free search feature to find qualified and trusted professionals in your area today.

If you wish to learn more about hiring a tradesperson to renovate your home, please see our handy cost of renovating a home guide. It’s packed with prices, tips and information.

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