Top 25 Biggest Renovating Mistakes
From ignoring prep work and safety to setting unrealistic budgets, find out how to avoid these mistakes and more when renovating.
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Buying Cheap Materials
Carpenter Jimmy Little adds his two cents: "If you're going to do it, do it. If you can't afford to do it, wait."
Skipping the Prep Work
Contractor Jim Collins says, "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."
"I see this time and time again where people just start, and they think they're going to pull a piece of wallpaper off, and by the time the process is over, they've completely gotten themselves into a deep, dark hole that's very difficult to get out of," adds Eric Stromer of Over Your Head.
Excessive Use of Duct Tape
"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," Jimmy adds.
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," notes Spike Carelsen, former executive editor of Family Handyman.
Building a Small Bathroom
"I'm a real believer in using bold colors and bold prints, because boldness in small spaces actually makes it feel better," Nancy adds.
Designed to Sell's Lisa LaPorta adds, "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."
Going Too Trendy
"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," says Jim.
Building Small Doorways
Failure to Anticipate Chaos
Incorrect Storage of Materials
Steve adds, "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 stuff like that, keep them inside."
Not Using Green Materials
"If you're doing your renovation green, you're really ahead of the market right now. So going green is a very smart investment," Carey emphasizes.
Using the Wrong Paint Type
"Flat is for your ceilings and sometimes for your walls," adds carpenter Jeff Devlin of Spice Up My Kitchen. "Whereas your semigloss would be for trim in a bathroom or in a dining room. The glossy will give it a more upscale look."
Building Narrow Hallways and Staircases
Choosing the Wrong Windows
"You can always put more emphasis on the windows in the front of the house that face the street. That's one way to save on money, but do not skimp on quality," Nancy says.
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," says Jim. "(Also) a good set of boots because there are nails and sharp objects everywhere. The last thing is, you must have a first-aid kit."
Not Doing Your Homework
"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," Nancy says.
Forgetting to Update the Electrical System
Ingoring Your Home's Style
Hiring the Wrong Contractor
Stephen Drucker, former editor in chief of House Beautiful adds, "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."
Taking On More Than You Can Handle
Eric explains, "You really do have to know up front where you're going, and you can't jump into things without having a plan."
Overbuilding for Your Neighborhood
Setting an Unrealistic Budget
"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," Jeff said.