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Home Improvement & Renovating

15 Mistakes to Avoid When Renovating A House on Your Own

15 Mistakes to Avoid When Renovating a House on Your Own

Renovating your home by yourself can be very rewarding in many ways. You’ll save on labour costs, gain new DIY skills, have more control over the project schedule, and the satisfaction of seeing the results of your hard work.

Every renovation can have unexpected complications, delays, and higher costs, no matter who does it. Being aware of common mistakes will put you in a stronger position to complete your renovation project on time and within budget with less stress and frustration.

Our team at Notre Dame Castle is happy to help you and answer your questions as you plan your renovation. Have a look at these common DIY renovation mistakes, and be prepared!

1. Renovating Without a Plan

Make a renovation project plan with a timeline and budget you can live with to reduce delays, cost overruns, and mistakes. Start by thinking about what you want to achieve, what you need to do, who will do it, how, and when.

Be realistic about your budget, DIY skills, the time you can devote to your renovation, your energy level, and the effect it will have on your family. Think about the equipment and tools you will need to purchase or rent and be aware of the current state of your mechanical, plumbing, and electrical setup.

2. Underestimating the Disruption

Renovating can cause a lot of noise, dust, mess, and disruption to your daily routine. Ensure your family understands this before you start, and find ways to make it easier for everyone. Seal doorways with plastic sheets to minimize dust and fumes. Keep important papers and necessary belongings within easy reach and away from the renovation area so you can quickly find them.

3. Being Too Busy to Communicate

When living in your home during the renovation work, ensure everyone knows when you will turn off the power or water and when doing heavier, noisier work such as removing walls. If you hire a contractor, they will need to inform you of what to expect and if there are delays.

Have regular meetings and put changes to your plan and special instructions for contractors in writing to avoid misunderstandings and costly errors.

4. Underestimating Your Budget

The unpredictable nature of a renovation makes it easy to go over budget, so add a buffer of about 25%. Do research on products and supplies ahead of time to help you prepare the most accurate budget estimate possible. Don’t forget to include the cost of work that will need to be done by a contractor, licensed electrician, or plumber.

Be prepared for the unexpected! Once you open walls, you may discover faulty wiring, insufficient insulation, or a shaky foundation.

Include those often-overlooked expenses such as ordering take-out food when your kitchen has been dismantled, boarding pets, renting a place if you need to be out of the house for a portion of the renovation, and renting a container to store furniture if you are refinishing or replacing floors.

5. Not Getting Written Estimates

When hiring a contractor, electrician, or plumber, renting or purchasing tools, or buying building supplies, get cost estimates in writing.

Get three quotes and check references before hiring a contractor where possible. Is the contractor good at problem-solving? Do they manage the project with a plan to keep it on time?

Estimates should include materials, labour, overage charges, warranties, proof of insurance, timelines, deadlines, and payment terms.

6. Not Finding Out if You Need a Building Permit

Check your local building bylaws to find out if you need a building permit before starting any work to avoid fines and having to dismantle your work. Additions, finishing the basement, or moving plumbing usually require a building permit. Smaller projects like painting or upgrading plumbing do not usually require a permit.

7. Ignoring Your Home’s Architecture

You can always add individual styles, but ensure that the changes you make will complement and enhance the architecture of your home.

8. Doing Electrical Work Yourself

Although you may feel comfortable installing a new light fixture or a dimmer switch, we recommend you hire a licensed electrical contractor for your electrical projects.

Doing electrical work yourself can result in electric shock or faulty wiring. If not approved by the electrical safety authority, you may have to redo the work.

9. Not Knowing What Your Home Insurance Covers

Verify that your home insurance policy will cover your home during the renovation.

10. Forgetting About Safety

Avoid injuries and accidents by being aware of the materials you are using. Work in well-ventilated rooms when using solvents and paint, keep tools out of reach of children, and learn how to operate tools and machinery safely.

Work in pairs when you need to lift heavy materials. Follow safety precautions when using tall ladders or scaffolding.

Wear protective gear like gloves, a mask, and safety glasses. Don’t wear loose clothing that can get caught in machinery.

An accident can happen instantly – a tiny piece of metal or sawdust in your eye can result in lifelong damage. Keep your first aid kit handy and well-stocked.

11. Not Measuring Carefully

Imagine the disappointment of discovering that your granite countertop is too short, or the fridge you ordered does not fit in the space. These mishaps are only too common in renovation projects but can be avoided with careful measuring.

12. Not Assessing Your Space, Plumbing and Electrical

Ensure you have enough space and the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing are in good condition and can support your renovation design ideas.

Only some bathrooms are suitable for a barrier-free walk-in shower. Moving your kitchen sink to the other side will require more involved plumbing. New appliances, air conditioning, or a hot tub may require more electricity.

13. Waiting Until the Last Minute to Buy Materials

Once you have decided on the materials and finishes you want, ask about availability and the lead time needed to ensure you will have them at the right time.

14. Sacrificing Quality to Save Money

Buy the best materials you can for your budget, and don’t always go for the lowest estimate. Look for reliability, durability, and energy efficiency to save in the long run and ultimately increase your home’s resale value.

15. Not Admitting You Need Help

If you feel the renovation work is beyond your skill level, don’t leave it too late to call a contractor. Get estimates and references to keep your project moving forward.

Drop by Notre Dame Castle to learn more from our team members who can help with your renovation projects.

Disclaimer: The information and resources in these articles and on this website are available for informational and educational purposes only. The articles provided on this website are created with every reasonable effort to ensure completeness and accuracy. In doing so, the article writers, publishers, and the business that this website represents assume no responsibility for errors, omissions, or opposed interpretation of the articles and under no circumstance will these parties be held liable for any direct, indirect and/or consequential damages of any kind incurred from undertaking tasks outlined in the articles or on this website. In addition, it is suggested that readers check by-laws, zoning laws and building codes of your local area and country.


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