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Nine mistakes to avoid when doing home renovations

It is easier to avoid mistakes than correct them. If you have inherited or bought an older house, you are probably planning a renovation. Renovating a house is neither cheap nor easy. There are a number of factors you need to consider before you even start to avoid mistakes. If you need advice on what to watch out for, then you've come to the right place.

Construction floor plans

Why is reconstruction better than new construction?

Whether reconstruction or new construction is better depends on several factors. If the house is in relatively good condition, it is natural to choose reconstruction. However, if you want to tear down partitions because the house is in really bad shape, or change the orientation of the house, it may be better to tear it down and build a new house.

In addition, the reconstruction will preserve the original atmosphere of the house. You certainly have an emotional attachment to the house you inherited, so it would be best to preserve as much as possible of the original environment in which you have fond memories.

The need for reconstruction can also come with the fact that you or someone in your household becomes disabled. It may be that you need to make your home accessible. In this case, the state will also help you with finances.

1. Unrealistic visions

This is clearly the first and absolutely the most common mistake. People often imagine things too simply and then get disappointed when the result is not what they imagined. It's normal to want your house to look like a magazine, but you mustn't forget that the pictures in magazines are just arranged and in real life it is important to think practically.

TIP: Be careful not to impulsively succumb to trends. What's in fashion today may not be in a year from now, and you probably don't plan to remodel with every new trend.

2. In accordance with the law

Renovation, like any major repair, is called construction and is therefore subject to the Building Code. Be aware of when and what permits you will need.

Here are several types of building permits that you may need for a renovation project, depending on the scope of the work. These include:

  • A building permit: This is required for all types of buildings, regardless of their design, purpose, and duration. It is also required for alterations to buildings, such as extensions, additions, and structural changes.

  • A permit for building alterations: This is needed for demolition work and other changes that affect the appearance, layout, or use of a dwelling, such as changes to the supporting structures.

Keep in mind that these requirements may vary depending on your location, so it's important to check with your local building authority to find out what permits are needed for your specific project.

person standing in a home renovation

In certain cases, you may only need to notify the building authority of your construction plans rather than obtaining a permit. This includes:

  • Minor buildings that perform additional functions to the main building do not significantly affect the environment.

  • Building alterations that do not significantly change the appearance of the building, do not change its use and do not endanger the interests of society.

  • Maintenance work that could affect the stability, appearance, or environment of the building, as long as it does not fundamentally change its connection to the public facilities of the area or worsen the impact on the surroundings.

On the other hand, some types of maintenance and repair work do not need to be notified to the building authority. These include:

  • Façade repairs.

  • Repairs and replacement of roofing or the surface of flat roofs.

  • Replacement of gutters and downpipes.

  • Repairs to fencing and replacement of parts of fencing as long as the route of the fencing are not altered.

  • Repair and replacement of non-essential building structures, such as the installation of floating floors.

  • Maintenance and repair of technical, energy, or technological equipment of the building, as long as it does not fundamentally change its connection to the public facilities of the area or worsen the impact on the surroundings or environment.

  • Replacement of furnishings, such as kitchen units, baths, and built-in wardrobes.

  • Painting and decorating works.

3. Lack of planning

Failing to plan can lead to setbacks and unexpected challenges during a renovation project. While it may not be possible to control everything, careful planning can help you adjust your expectations and reduce the time commitment of the project. Ask friends or colleagues about their experiences with renovations, including how long it took and how much it cost, to get a sense of what to expect.

4. Choosing a construction company

When choosing a construction company, it's important to focus on value for money rather than just the lowest price. It's not worth choosing the cheapest option if they do a poor job and you have to fix their mistakes later. Instead, look for experts who will not underestimate any stage of the renovation and who have a reputation for delivering high-quality work. This will help ensure that the project goes smoothly.

Be cautious of companies that offer work without a contract, especially if they are offering a lower price. Without a contract, there is no guarantee that the work will be completed to your satisfaction. If there are problems, you may have no recourse to rectify the deficiencies. It's also a red flag if a company asks for a deposit but then disappears before the work is finished.

To protect yourself, try to negotiate a payment schedule that is tied to the progress of the construction. This can help reduce the risk of being left in the lurch if the company decides to abandon the project. While a contract can help protect you in such situations, it's better to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

5. Finance

When budgeting for a renovation project, it's important to be realistic about the total cost. If you don't have enough money to complete the project as you envision it, it may be better to put it off rather than settle for cheaper materials or cut corners. Don't forget to include the cost of small details like bathroom mirrors and light switches in your budget.

However, it's also important not to put off a renovation unnecessarily, as the cost of building materials is constantly rising. To get the most value for your money, consider investing in higher-quality materials that will last longer. While this may increase the initial investment, it's likely to save you money in the long run by reducing the need for repairs or replacements. Look for products that are CE-certified, as this marking indicates that they meet EU requirements and may be a sign of quality.

6. Inaccurate measurement

Accurate measurement is crucial when it comes to renovation projects. Make sure to double-check your measurements to avoid costly mistakes. Even a small error of a few centimeters can cause problems, so it's better to be safe than sorry. If you're not confident in your measurement skills, consider hiring a professional to ensure that everything is done correctly.

A woman in a blue coat holding a measuring tape

7. Think you can do it yourself?

While it may be tempting to try to tackle a renovation project on your own, it's important to be realistic about your skills and expertise. Hiring a professional with years of experience can save you time and frustration, and they can also provide valuable advice if you encounter any problems. However, if you enjoy working with tools and have a workshop at your disposal, feel free to take on the project yourself. Just be careful not to overestimate your abilities and put yourself in danger.

8. Safety

Safety should always be a top priority when it comes to renovation projects. Make sure to hire a company that follows all workplace safety regulations and takes steps to protect yourself and your craftsmen. Wear closed-toe shoes, gloves, and goggles to protect your feet, hands, and eyes, and keep a fully-stocked first aid kit on hand in case of accidents. Additionally, pay attention to the health implications of the materials you use. Choose health-safe options that will improve the air quality in your home, rather than toxic materials that could cause health problems.

9. Storing materials

Proper storage of materials is essential during any renovation project, especially if the work will take a long time or you have purchased materials in advance. Make sure to keep paints and coatings from drying out, and be careful with wood or dry mortar mix to prevent them from getting wet. Proper storage will ensure that your materials are ready to use when you need them.

Person painting the wall with a roller

Proper maintenance is key to ensuring that your home lasts as long as possible. Make sure to care for your façade to keep it looking new, prevent mold, and regularly clean your fireplace or boiler. If you're not sure how to take care of your home, consider seeking the help of professionals who can provide expert guidance. By following these tips, you can ensure that your home stays in top condition for years to come.


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