Dream Kitchens and Bathrooms

10 Renovation Mistakes

Property Brothers' Jonathan and Drew Scott talk to HGTV Magazine about how to avoid the biggest remodeling mishaps to save money and hike up your home’s value.

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Mismeasuring for Cabinets
This is one of the costliest mistakes the Brothers see. "People buy kitchen cabinets, have them installed, then realize their fridge doesn't fit," says Jonathan. The fail-safe: Measure and remeasure. "We always say, ‘Measure 10 times and cut once.' Print out specs for the appliances you're using and compare them to the plans for the cabinets with the cabinet installer."

Choosing the Cheapest Contractor
"The lowest bid never equals the best job," says Jonathan, who recommends bringing in at least three contractors and getting written estimates from each. "Some give cheap quotes just to get the job, then tack things on or cut corners and install low-quality products." The written estimate should include details (e.g., exact cabinets, hardware, flooring, and install costs, not just "new room"), a waste removal plan, permit costs, insurance, general contractor fee, an explanation of how design changes are handled, and the warranty on the work. If your estimate doesn't include these, the contractor is either not very thorough or he's underestimating the project.

Lowballing Your Budget
Surprises inevitably pop up and then snowball during a renovation. "Say you're installing a backsplash: You might damage the wall and have to replace some of the drywall. Then you see inside the drywall and find electrical issues, and before you know it, you're dealing with more than just a new backsplash," says Drew. "I always tell people to set aside 15% of the total project cost-even more for older homes-for unexpected expenses."

Insisting on Granite Countertops
True, it's a popular pick, but granite isn't the only option for the kitchen, says Jonathan. "Choosing a different material for the countertops can save you more money than anything else in the kitchen." The Brothers' nongranite picks: butcher block, plate steel, or a nice laminate. "Laminate is less durable than a solid-surface counter, but some choices look a lot like real granite."

Being Afraid to Change the Layout of a Bathroom
"Moving a toilet, shower, or sink isn't really that difficult. Don't live with an awkward bathroom just because you think it's cost-prohibitive to reconfigure it," says Jonathan.

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