Transforming a house into a home is hard work, especially for those who have never done it before.
Without know-how and careful planning, designing the renovation, getting the right supplies and hiring the right contractor can be a nightmare. And the bills could spiral out of control.
That is why Kaodim strongly believes in outsourcing work to the professionals.
But before the remodelling starts, here are 10 common newbie house renovation mistakes to avoid.
1. Inaccurate measurements
Measurements are the basis for pricing, cutting and managing materials and other resources. They are a core element of any remodelling project.
People buy kitchen cabinets, have them installed and then realise the fridge doesn’t fit. So always measure and re-measure, and get someone else involved in the process too.
As the saying goes, “Measure twice, cut once.” Print out the specs for appliances and compare them to the plans for the cabinets with the installer.
2. Choosing the cheapest contractor
It is always tempting to go for the cheapest option. Home remodelling experts recommend getting written quotes from at least three contractors.
Some contractors quote a low figure just to get the job, then tack things on or cut corners and use low-quality products.
The written estimate should include details – the exact cabinets to be installed, hardware, flooring and installation costs, not just “new room” – a waste removal plan, permit costs, insurance, general contractor’s fee, an explanation of how design changes will be handled and the warranty on the work.
If an estimate does not include these, the contractor is either not very thorough or they are underestimating the project.
It is also important to meet them face to face and ask questions to understand how they work.
3. Gutting everything
It’s exciting to break down the old walls and begin anew but make sure there is a plan, made with professional advice, before knocking things down.
Sometimes the better option is to work around things.
Experts have seen it time and time again — people think they are just pulling off some wallpaper and by the time the process is over, they are in a tricky situation. Discuss plans with the contractor thoroughly.
4. Underestimating the budget
There are always surprises during a renovation, such as electricals that need redoing or damage hidden underneath an old finish.
Set aside 15% of the total project cost — even more for older homes — to deal with unexpected expenses.
If the budget is too tight to start with, consider holding off until there is enough money to set aside for contingencies.
5. Forgetting about lighting
Another mistake that homeowners make is not taking into consideration the lighting. It can completely change the colour, the feeling and the ambience of a room.
There are three main types of lighting: general lighting, task lighting and drama or accent lighting and a combination of these is needed for a good result, not forgetting the play of natural light in a room.
6. Focusing too much on trends
People often want their new home to be too hip and trendy and pick the latest, hottest, coolest things. They forget that trends can easily become dated.
Look at clothing, what is popular this year can be old hat the next, and clothing is much easier to replace than a kitchen.
The best thing is to go for a timeless look. Because the trendier something is, the quicker it will go out of style, and this can bring down the home’s resale value.
7. Not updating the electrical system
Out of sight, out of mind, right? But what happens when someone is sitting on the couch and there is nowhere to plug in the phone to charge?
Walk through the house with an electrician and talk about outlets, where they are and where the new outlets should be. And everything must be up to code.
8. Ignoring drainage in the laundry room
Don’t make the mistake not putting a drain in the laundry room floor. Otherwise, if the washing machine hose ever breaks, it could flood the house.
A floor drain takes the water into the home’s main drain system. A professional plumber needs to instal this correctly, otherwise soap suds will come up in the kitchen sink or bathtub drain. Not fun.
9. Changing your mind
Once the plans have been made up and work has begun, it’s a little late to start second guessing oneself.
Putting another electrical outlet in the kitchen for that new espresso machine may seem like a simple last-minute add-on, but it might entail some expensive rewiring.
Don’t expect to make changes without a hefty price tag attached. Complete the research and strategising before the dust starts flying.
10. Not doing your homework
It is important to do at least some preliminary homework. Bengkel Post is a great place to start as it has information on house painting, kitchen design ideas, materials for bathrooms and more.
Even if a contractor is doing the work, one must know what to look for and keep an eye on what the contractor is doing. That way one would know if something is not working out.
With some background knowledge, one is better equipped to ask the renovation contractor, plumber or electrician the right questions.
This article first appeared in kaodim.com
One of Southeast Asia’s fastest growing local services platform, Kaodim connects users to dependable and professional local service providers – fast and hassle-free. With the Kaodim app, users can access professional services for home renovation, office cleaning, and much more.