Avoid These 5 Common And Costly Home Renovation Snags

top view of home renovation

Home renovations are the way to our dream spaces. But, there can be snags along the way. Here are 5 common ones with some ideas on how to overcome them.


Home renovations are both terrifying and exciting. Many homeowners are aware of the major issues that can go wrong during home renovations, such as unexpected wiring or plumbing problems, less than scrupulous contractors, and projects that blow through the budget.

But sometimes, it’s the little snags, oversights, and important (and dull!) details that ruin a project. Learn about these five renovation mishaps and how to avoid them.

1. Design clashes

Some homeowners fall in love with the latest trends in kitchen design, for example, and plan a renovation around current styles without considering the overall style of the home. It’s an easy mistake to make, and sometimes difficult to let the idea of a dream room lead your thinking without taking the whole design context of your home into account.

Some people love a room that stands on its own apart from other rooms. And that’s fine! But, if you are looking to maintain a certain continuity from room to room, sometimes it’s just a question of choosing one or two design features that evoke the effects you’re looking for in that dream room that work with your home’s overall style. Sometimes, it’s these small features that lend the biggest design punch.

2. Overlooking permits

Many renovations require a building permit from your local municipality. Before you start a project, visit your city’s building permit department and get the paperwork you need. In most cases, you submit an application and two sets of detailed plans for the project. Once the project is approved, one copy stays with the city, and the other goes to the job site.

Don’t make the mistake of relying on your contractor to secure the necessary permits. If an inspector makes a surprise visit and you don’t have a visible permit, you become responsible for any fines and costs associated with changing the scope of the project or having to abandon it entirely. Securing permits and meeting standards of local building codes is the dull part of creating your dream space. But, it’s a necessary one.

contractor and customer

3. Cutting corners with materials and with contractors

Renovating your home is expensive, and choosing cheaper materials to keep costs under control is tempting. Sometimes, it’s just the thing when you’re just going for a temporary fix. But, let’s assume that you’re looking for a long term change to your property, one that you want to endure for the long term. Think about how much you’ll have to pay later when cheaper and less reliable materials begin to degrade, and about the cost of replacing the work of a contractor who offered a suspiciously low bid to complete the work.

Choose the best quality materials you can afford. Make sure you’re not getting the short end of the stick when it comes to your choice in contractor, too. Investing in the best materials you can get and working with professionals who care as much about the results as you do will ultimately save you money. Think of it as an investment since that’s really what it is.

4. Choosing the wrong paint

Color and finish are equally important in choosing your paint. When choosing a color, don’t base your decision on how the paint sample looks against a white wall because the color will look darker. Instead, place the paint sample on a sofa or other piece of furniture in the room, or on the floor, to see how that color works in the room.

Think about finishes and the kinds of effects that will work best in a given space. Glossy finishes and matte finishes all have their place. Also, don’t forget about the base. Some bases work better in places where there are higher moisture levels, where others prove problematic. When in doubt, always give your vendor of choice the most information about your project when you seek their help. When they know the nature of your project, they will be better equipped to advise you.

house painting project

5. Neglecting your lighting

Lighting is one of the most important and overlooked parts of a home remodel, making or breaking the success of your project. Consider all the elements in your design and how all the pieces affect your room: general lighting, task lighting, accent lighting and natural lighting.

Think about replacing the existing lighting. Think also about how the light looks in a space at different times of the day. These lighting factors will have a big impact on the overall effect of your new space. Test your color palettes in the morning, then noon, at dusk, and under the light of fixtures too. This will help to lend some perspective on your choices of colors before you invest in any one scheme.

Not without its challenges

No transformation process is without its challenges. But, that shouldn’t stop you from pursuing it. If you’re planning a renovation this year, keep these five common snags in mind for a smoother process and a fresh living space you’ll love.


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