Eight Home Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

Eight Home Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

Embarking on a home renovation project can be an exciting journey – with endless opportunities to reimagine your living space or reconfigure the layout of your existing structure.

Whether you have bought a run-down building as renovation project, or want to refresh your existing building, the first step is to have detailed plans of what you’d like to achieve, and what the finished result will look like. Property renovation is one of those things where playing it by ear never works. You must have a clearly phased project to ensure you don’t skip steps or forget something that means moving back to carry out retrospective repairs, or incur additional costs.

It’s also wise to consider the interior design, the period features of your home, and how you will use spaces and rooms practically rather than focusing only on the aesthetics – because your property needs to work with you!

We’ve listed our eight top home renovation mistakes to help you form a detailed plan and avoid typical errors that can be extremely costly, before you begin working.

1. Buying Furniture and Furnishings Too Soon

Once you get stuck into renovation work, all those soft furnishings, elegant furniture, and wall coverings you see jump out as perfect for the dream home you’re creating.

However, buying décor too early is often problematic because while the project is ongoing, it’s difficult to take accurate measurements or find clarity about how and where furnishings or appliances need to go.

Think about:

  • Buying beautiful antique pieces or contemporary furniture – only to find it doesn’t fit in the allotted space or would need to be taken apart to get through the door.
  • Purchasing curtains, blinds or shutters that look great on paper but don’t match the glazing or the windows.
  • Picking appliances or electronics without realising that there are no plug sockets close by.
  • Investing in carpets or rugs that look beautiful but jar with the style or theme once the work is complete.

Our advice is never to guess at measurements or buy anything on a whim unless you are 100% certain it will be right for your home! Even smaller accessories such as light fittings, door handles or taps can be a wasted expense if they don’t fit into the sink you have chosen or are too large or small for your renovated doors.

Provided you have technical drawings or plans with the correct dimensions, you can schedule purchases of bigger ticket items strategically, taking advantage of seasonal sale periods to keep your home renovation budget under control.

2. Forgetting to Check the Natural Light

We talk a lot about natural light in a home renovation context, because the aspect of your home, the size of your windows and the position of each room dictates how the space feels and works. If you’ve ever wall-mounted a TV that is unwatchable at midday, you’ll understand the importance!

Sunlight also changes throughout the day and the seasons, so it’s worth spending time in each area at different times to gauge the light’s quality, strength and softness to help plan your room layout. This process ensures you’ll choose the right colour schemes and décor to maximise natural light without making darker or smaller rooms feel claustrophobic or gloomy.

Larger-scale glazing such as patio doors, picture windows or bi-fold doors can all benefit rooms that don’t have ample sunlight and make a space more comfortable and attractive.

3. Not Checking for Planning Permission Rules

Many aspects of home renovation do not require formal planning permission, but if you need building regulations approval and fail to apply, you could find yourself in hot water.

Adding an extension, sunroom or loft conversion to your home renovation project is a fantastic way to create more space and the saleable value of your property – but the larger the scale of the work, the more likely planning application and permission rules will apply.

In most cases, you can apply retrospectively. Still, if the local planning department rejects your plans, it could be a case of restructuring the extension or even removing the work altogether.

Homeowners with listed properties or those in a conservation area should be particularly cautious and verify whether planning applications apply before undertaking any home renovation work.

4. Taking on Too Much, Too Soon

Renovating an old property is more involved than a simple redecorating project, and those plans we have mentioned are crucial to keeping track of progress and seeing how much you have spent.

It is very common to want to jump into a home renovation project with both feet first, but this is invariably a mistake:

  • Trying to renovate multiple rooms simultaneously causes disruption and makes it impossible to focus fully on any one task or decision.
  • Monitoring a renovation budget is tricky, and if you spread yourself too thin, it is very easy to lose track and overspend on building materials and other costs.
  • Quality is crucial, so working on one space at a time gives you more capacity to concentrate on achieving the best possible finish before you move forward.

We would suggest you work first on the rooms you’ll need to live comfortably – think bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms.Once those areas are complete, you can get going with other spaces, such as hallways and living rooms.

5. Picking a Contractor Without Due Diligence

As an established renovation expert, our teams are always happy to provide quotes or pricing estimates and fully expect our clients to compare those rates, ask questions, or request advice and guidance throughout the planning process.

Picking a contractor without researching their skills, knowledge and previous projects can be a serious downfall if the building work fails to meet your expectations or you have to hire countless additional professionals for second fix jobs or to deal with structural issues.

House renovation is a big project, and you should take as much time as you need to explore budgets, construction methods, materials, layouts, techniques and finishes.

We suggest looking at previous work to verify that your contractor has an excellent track record and can back this up with customer testimonials!

6. Renovating Your Home Based on the Lowest Costs

Of course, costs are a necessary consideration, and however small or large your renovation project is, it must be affordable and well-planned. However, some perceived efficiencies will cost significantly more in the long run, and cutting corners is rarely advisable.

In some cases, the most qualified professionals can offer the most competitive pricing since they have existing material sourcing networks, knowledge about the right approaches to achieve your desired result, and efficient working methods to complete each phase faster.

We would suggest that any decisions are based on quality and expertise, not solely on the cheaper price.

7. Removing Structural Walls

You can remove load-bearing walls – but they need to have sufficient structural support verified by an accredited structural engineer to ensure that knocking through a wall doesn’t compromise the integrity of the building.

Removing walls to create open-plan living spaces has become hugely popular over the last two decades. Still, it isn’t a decorative job and requires specific calculations and an appropriate supporting beam or RSJ to bear the weight of the structure above. A structural survey may be required.

Knocking down structural and internal walls yourself can multiply the renovation project budget since the repair work required can be extensive.

8. Designing Spaces Outside of the Property’s Style

Any episode of Grand Designs is likely to mention ‘sympathetic architecture’ and décor ‘in keeping with the property’ – and for a good reason. When you start designing a house renovation, it is important to consider the original home’s age, appearance and functionality.

Disjointed architecture, clashing styles and haphazard shapes can be eclectic and interesting but invariably damage the potential to sell the property.

As an experienced renovation contractor, Pinnacle Works can steer you through the design phase and recommend materials, finishes and styles that will complement the original property aesthetic to create a harmonious, comfortable result. If you would like more advice about your home renovation project, creating a work schedule, or avoiding these common renovation mistakes, please get in touch! You can also browse the Pinnacle Works Blog for more informative guides and view our gallery for ideas and inspiration.

The Home Renovation Planning Process

The Home Renovation Planning Process

Deciding on a perfect home renovation to breathe fresh life into your living space can be exciting – and daunting! For many homeowners, the challenge is how to make a dream design a reality. Renovations, whether a general refurbishment or full-size extension, can be overwhelming, with no end of considerations.

At Pinnacle Works, we support every client end-to-end, from creating digital models of your desired layout to piecing together the components, project stages, and any permission required.

Here we’ve laid out a short series of steps to work through and get to grips with making your wildest home renovation imagination something achievable.

Step One: Pinpoint Your Home Improvement Aims

We’re often inspired by images of beautifully executed renovations and want to replicate ideas into our properties. Before you start calculating budgets or appointing contractors, the first stage is to assess precisely what you want to accomplish.

For example:

  • Do you need an extra bedroom space to accommodate a growing family?
  • Would you like more natural light and better airflow in your home?
  • Is your target to increase the saleable value of your property?
  • Do you want to improve curb appeal and refresh the exterior?
  • Are you renovating to create a dedicated space for remote working?
  • Is your home outdated and in need of modernisation?
  • Do you want a larger kitchen area or play space for your kids?

This step is perhaps the most important of all. Once you’ve clarified your overall aims, you can keep coming back to them and ensure each decision you make contributes towards that goal.

Step Two: Think About Your Home Renovation Budget

Next up, it’s time to crunch some numbers. You can collate estimates first, but we’d recommend setting a maximum budget.

There will be a finite value you feel comfortable spending in most cases, and it’s better to have a solid idea of your total budget before you start speaking with contractors.

Here’s why:

  • You know what you want to do and how much you have available to spend – Pinnacle can then recommend solutions and options to meet both requirements.
  • All renovations have multiple choices of materials and finishes, so if you’re confident in your figures, you can make informed judgments about which options fit your needs.

It can be tempting to be swept away with the excitement of an incredible design, but your finances matter. Putting in a little homework will ensure you won’t end up putting your budget under strain. Make sure you think about the variable costs outside of the work itself. For example, you might need to rent temporary accommodation during construction, apply for planning permission, and cover costs to redecorate and furnish your finished renovation.

Contingency budgets are also wise, so you aren’t stretched if anything runs overtime. A 10% buffer is usually a good benchmark to ensure you will stay on track.

Step Three: Ask for Quotes and Estimates

A quote and an estimate aren’t the same – and there can be quite a difference!

Quotations should be itemised and include all costs (including VAT), so you have a fixed price you’ll expect to pay for all the work contained within that quote. Estimates are usually open-ended, so they might guess how many days of labour are involved or provide a rough price for the renovation project.

If you’re in the early planning stages, estimates are sufficient and will help decide whether you can achieve what you’re hoping for within the confines of your budget. However, before you accept any quote, please ensure it is from a respected contractor and that you understand what is – and is not – included.

Step Four: Create a Detailed Renovation Plan

Planning is the detail that makes a massive impact on the success of a renovation project, so don’t ever feel that you’re spending too much time looking at the details – you’ll be thankful you did when work gets underway!

A renovation plan sums up all of the steps so far, so:

  • The aim of the renovation project.
  • Designs, styling and aesthetic you would like.
  • How much the work is expected to cost.
  • Sketches or plans of the finished remodel.
  • Details about what your contractor will do and any work you’re undertaking yourself.

At this stage, it’s best to look into things like planning permission, permitted development and building regulations, as you might need to apply for approval before any construction can start. If you’re unsure about your local planning rules or would like advice about renovations allowed under permitted development, please get in touch with the Pinnacle Works team.

Step Five: Hire Your Contractor

When all the planning is complete, it’s time to get cracking! Pinnacle has years of experience working on a vast range of renovation projects. We always recommend basing your hiring decisions on more than the cheapest quote (which is often a false economy).

Think about:

  • Whether your contractor has sufficient experience? Have they worked on similar renovations before?
  • Reputation – check out reviews on social media or Trustpilot to ensure your selected contractor is of excellent quality.
  • Look into insurance and qualifications; any professional contractor will be happy to provide evidence of any specific skills or insurances you need.
  • Payment schedules, usually based on an upfront deposit and staged payments according to progress.

You might need to hire multiple contractors if you want to take on a professional qualified in one specific trade. Still, a full-service contractor such as Pinnacle will include every element of your home improvement within one team.

This option is preferable since you’ll benefit from streamlined project management and won’t need to juggle invoices and schedules between various tradespeople.

Step Six: Get Your Home Ready for Renovation

Finally, before your contractors get to work, you’ll need to ensure your home is ready for the work to begin and the space is prepped. Leaving rooms furnished can often add time or even end up in damaged furniture.

Here are some examples:

  • Kitchen renovations: do you need to buy or hire temporary cooking facilities or move any of your cutlery and dishes to a different room?
  • Furniture: can you move furniture into a new space or put valuable items into storage?
  • Living space: are you moving into rented accommodation? Have you packed up anything you won’t need with you so it isn’t in the way?

Once your home is ready, you’ll be able to move forward and allow the professionals to start work on your fantastic new home renovation.

Following these planning steps might seem like a delay, but you must invest time into researching your required outcome, choosing styles that match your aspirations, and making sure you have a reliable contractor and a total cost that is achievable within your budget.

If you’d like further advice about planning your home renovation or turning your ideas into a real-life project, please get in touch with Pinnacle Works for friendly, tailored, and professional guidance.