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Home Renovation Tips: 5 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid

Updated: Apr 18

Don’t run into any home renovation mishaps with these tips from an experienced renovation contractor team.

A plan for accessible home renovation with different tools on the table
Tips from an experienced renovation contractor like Buildable can provide invaluable insight into the process and help ensure that your projects are completed efficiently and with superior craftsmanship.


Whether you’re a DIY newbie or have renovated your house in the past, there’s always more to learn about remodelling your home. There are plenty of home renovation tips out there, but here are the most common remodelling mistakes to avoid when taking on your next project.

1. Unrealistic Budgeting

Home renovations require a lot of work before starting, and a lot can go wrong if you don’t create a realistic plan and budget. Start by outlining your must-haves and which design choices you’d love but don’t necessarily need. If you’re comparing quotes from multiple contractors, going with the cheapest option isn’t always best. You want to make sure your estimates are specific about what’s included in the project to ensure that you get the results you want. You might want to avoid quotes that are written on a napkin or with minimal details!

Budget for More

Have some wiggle room in your budget for any bumps along the way. Sometimes problems arise that you didn’t plan for (hello surprises hidden behind walls) or your preferences change, so set aside 10-15% of your budget for these surprises. Your contractor should always discuss how any of these issues, if they arise, will be handled before the work begins.

2. Not Coordinating Trades & Timing

Once you have your budget and plan in place, you'll need plan the order of your renovation. There are a lot of considerations when coordinating your project, which often involve multiple trades. This could include a structural engineer (if moving malls or building an addition), waste removals, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, drywall and fine carpentry. You will likely also need proper drawings done to complete the permit application process.

The last thing you want is to start demolishing your home without involving these key trades that will need to leap frog each other. Otherwise, you may have paint dripping on your new hardwood floors or an electrician removing new drywall. A good rule of thumb is to start with the messiest work first (demolition, electrical or plumbing), then move onto framing, installations, fixtures, and end with paint, flooring or trim.

If you haven't done this before, working with an experienced contractor or project manager can coordinate all of this for you. Our team also has your back for making your home more accessible and functional.

3. Inconsistent Design

We all want our homes to look like they belong in a magazine and there are so many swatches and design options to choose from when remodelling. It’s easy to get carried away and end up with an unbalanced home if you don’t have a specific look in mind.

To avoid this mistake, try sticking with the materials, colour palettes and decor that flow with the rest of your home. Is there a consistent feel as you walk from room to room? Do you want to create a calming or productive environment in each room? If you’re unsure, opt for neutral tones and natural materials that’ll appeal to a wide audience when selling your home—especially for kitchen and bathroom remodels.

4. Not Considering Your Future Needs

If you plan to live in your home for the foreseeable future, consider how your needs will change over time. Maybe you’ll have children, adopt pets, or enter retirement and want to modify your living arrangements. To save your future self money and time, try to adapt your current home renovations to suit the next age and stage of your life.

For growing families, consider converting a den or basement into a bedroom, open-plan layouts for play space, and hardwood floors for easy cleaning. Some home modifications for aging in place include widening doorways and hallways for wheelchairs, installing handheld showerheads or curbless showers, and grab bars in bathrooms. By planning ahead and making universally accessible design choices, you can stay in the home you love for years to come.

Accessible bathroom design by Buildable with shower bench and grab bars
Buildable is the right address for accessible bathroom renovations in Ottawa

5. Hiring the Wrong General Contractor

Hiring a contractor is typically the safest and quickest way to finish a renovation, but choosing one that’s the wrong fit can be a headache. Before settling on a contractor, ask them the essential questions about their past work experience, policies on unforeseen costs, and using licensed sub-trades. Also inquire about obtaining the appropriate permits on your behalf because many renovations require one—especially if you build additional rooms, alter your home’s structure or do electrical and plumbing work.

It can be tempting to rush into an agreement with a contractor but never feel pressured to work with a company that doesn’t check all your boxes. You may be working with a team for quite a few weeks to months, so you’ll want to find someone you feel confident with to carry out your vision.

Feel free to contact us to see if we're the right fit to help bring your project to life!



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