“They don't build homes like they used to” is an axiom that has its positives and negatives. While today's new constructions feature comforts beyond those of older homes, buyers seldom feel that these new houses will hold up for years to come. When your home's interior no longer meets your needs but has such impeccable bones that moving into a newer construction would be a step down, a renovation project allows you to combine modern amenities with superior structural integrity. But don't embark upon a renovation without doing your homework—you could find yourself running up your bills with some of the costliest renovation mistakes homeowners often make.
You've heard the phrase “measure twice, cut once” in carpentry. Some DIY renovators get a little too improvisational for their own good and attempt to proceed without much measurement at all. Before you start doing the work of breaking down and tearing up, head into your work with much more than just a rough sketch—or worse, a reliance on a mental picture that turns out not to be so clear. If you're updating your kitchen, arguably the most common renovation site in a home, draft a comprehensive floor plan that accounts for all appliances and fixtures before you begin. Failing to do so could lead to costly remediation of your hastiness.
Asking Forgiveness Rather Than Permission
Even if your home is your castle, your kingdom isn't as sovereign as you may think. Renovation projects that go beyond minor improvements (think new cabinets, low-elevation decks, and fresh coats of paint) require permits and approval from the City of Winnipeg, and readers living beyond the boundaries of our One Great City will often find that the same holds true in their respective municipalities. Failing to pursue and secure necessary renovation permits could lead to onerous fines or even cessation of the project.
Failing To Expect the Unexpected
A renovation is an undertaking that can be full of surprises. Most homeowners look forward to tearing out the well-worn, wall-to-wall carpet to reveal lovely hardwood floors that have laid unexposed for years. But there are some surprises—you might call them the “unknown unknowns”—that renovators are not ready for—and have not budgeted for, either. While you're tearing down walls, you may discover that the asbestos you thought was gone is not or that a doomed family of raccoons has been decomposing in your attic for years. Surprises will occur, and your budget must have a cushion for that. Failing to plan for the inevitably unknown is one of the costliest renovation mistakes you can make.
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