7 Things Contractors Learned From Their Own Renovation Missteps

by | Aug 26, 2020 | Signature Kitchen & Bath Blog | 0 comments

Here’s an informative articles on home renovation missteps by Erin Johnson for Apartment Therapy.

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Licensed contractors make projects run smoothly. They’ve seen some disastrous DIY projects gone wrong and have swooped in to save the day. But sometimes things don’t go quite as smoothly in their own homes, or on projects they expected to be straightforward. Here, seven hard-learned lessons from contractors that you can put to use in your own projects.

Make a budget beforehand

“We seem to do this for everyone else’s renovations but have had many times when we did not plan our budget accordingly for our personal renovation, and we ended up spending way more than we anticipated,” says Yvonne Johnson of design and renovation team, Reclaimed Karma in Marietta, Georgia.

Ballparking it can mean that you shell out way more than you would if you sat down to figure out exactly how much you’re willing to spend on each part of the project. Having a detailed budget also means that you’re better able to move money around for splurges if you happen to find something you like—like, say, an amazing custom light fixture or a vintage clawfoot tub.

Don’t start a project before a major holiday

Chris Johnson of Reclaimed Karma says to always be wary of taking on a big project with a short deadline—especially if it’s near the holidays. Unforeseen problems may arise, life might just get busy, and you don’t want to have to figure out how to host Thanksgiving dinner in a construction zone.

“We spent Christmas Eve and Day a few years back upstairs celebrating on the floor of our son’s loft area while our main floor kitchen and the living room was torn up from the floor up!” he says. Avoid the same fate by scheduling renos with plenty of buffer time before holidays.

Consider your floors

Speaking of torn-up floors: “Understand that if you are changing the layout of your home, it may affect your floors,” Chris Johnson advises.

He says when you’re removing a wall, widening a doorway, or removing kitchen cabinets, keep in mind that there may not be flooring underneath those spaces. This happened to Chris and Yvonne in one of their first home renovations.

“We never even thought about how tearing out the wall between our kitchen and our living room would affect our floors,” he says. “That turned into a major expense we were not anticipating.”

“Also, just the fact that you’re opening up a wall to make two spaces feel like one—they feel less like one new beautiful space when there is tile in one part of the new space and hardwood in the other,” he adds.

Double-check that all materials are in stock and make your orders concise

Yvonne Johnson warns that especially during the current pandemic, materials seem to be going out of stock more quickly, so double-check to make sure all the materials you’ll need for your renovation are indeed in stock.

If you plan on doing two separate renovations in your home with the same materials, such as matching tile, place one large order instead of two separate ones at different times to avoid variation or risk that particular tile being discontinued.

And don’t forget to order overages on tiles and flooring. “Oftentimes it takes a week or so to order in new tile and now you’re halfway through your bathroom renovation and you have to stop and wait a week for more tile,” says Yvonne. She suggests ordering 10 percent overage for flooring and 10 to 15 percent for tile.

Pre-lay marble tile

“When dealing with marble tile, lay your tile out first before installing to see that the color pattern is pleasing to the eye,” advises Yvonne. She says that marble varies greatly in color and has a few different patterns.

“By laying them out prior to installation, it helps to eliminate placing too many dark or light pieces or two matching pieces next to each other in one area,” she says. It’s much easier to rearrange before adhesive makes an entrance!

Select the appropriate paint the first time around

Mustafa Guner, founder of TX Project Management & Construction in Houston, Texas, says selecting your paint might sound like the simplest task on the renovation checklist, but if you pick the wrong kind of paint finish for the surface you’re painting, that’s going to be a frustrating redo.

“Every surface is different, and not knowing which paint to use will cause an owner/contractor to redo the paint job where the cost will easily double,” he says.

Know where your water lines are

Admittedly, this didn’t happen to Angelo Goncalves of MichaelAngelo Contracting during his own home renovation project, but there were still lessons learned.

He said a client decided a pocket door (instead of a regular door) between the bedroom and bathroom would be nice, and, aesthetically, they agreed. However, the gut renovation decided otherwise.

“We realized the building had all the water risers to the other three floors running through that wall, and we couldn’t re-route the plumbing,” he says. So, no pocket door for them! Figuring this out before smashing into any walls saved a lot of money (and a giant headache).

There will always be surprises when doing renovations, but with these seven things in mind, hopefully, you can save yourself a little time, money, and stress on your next project.