Avoid common and costly mistakes in home renovation projects

7 Dec 2016

Jack-All-Trades:  This is perhaps one of the most costly mistakes that people make when undertaking a design and renovations project.

By: Busi Shange

The festive season is upon us. With it comes the wedding season and the long awaited bonuses. It’s an opportune time to fix those niggling issues you had listed in your New Year’s resolution at the beginning of the year. As the Christmas decorations are already up at the local supermarket, I can imagine some could be in panic mode, scrambling to complete their renovation projects. Who wouldn’t want the in-laws to arrive to a fresh, stylish and up to date home?

Hopefully the renovation has not been left to the last minute, and rushed as this could result in disastrous outcomes, if handled haphazardly.  I’ve compiled a list of 5 crucial common mistakes that we could all learn from, and some advice on how they can be avoided. We wouldn’t want mother in law dearest to trip and fall would we?

   1 Setting out an realistic plan, budget, and timeline.

There are a few steps that can be taken to ensure a smoother project. Set out a plan of what you want to do, how much your budget is and the intended completion date. Barring unforeseen disaster, do not deviate from the original plan. Work in manageable phases. Keep the scope small, divide by room/area if need be and be realistic about the time frame.

A survey of the current conditions should help determine what can be kept or discarded, and if any preparatory or precautionary measures need to be taken such as levelling floors, or pre plastering. Accurate measurements of the areas that will be renovated need to be taken and recorded. Thorough research for material, labour and cost should be done thereafter. Preliminary survey can help you avoid disasters such as shortage of material and funds running dry. You don’t want your guest to find a messy construction site.

 2 Purchasing material without researching prices,  quality and availability.

There is hardware and tiling shop at every corner these days. Choose the more reputable ones as first option. Avoid products without guarantee and the ones with reputation for bad service. Ask friends on social media to recommend good suppliers and special deals.  It is wiser to opt for superior quality against lower cost in the long run. Constant maintenance and replacement could cause headaches in the future. Set time aside to shop around obtaining different quotes from different suppliers, and get as much product information from the sales person as possible.

Always allow for 10% wastage when purchasing material, and enquire about stock availability and lead times.

3 Hiring unreliable service providers to do the work

This is a perhaps one of the most costly mistakes that people make when undertaking a design and renovations project. Your friend convinces you that her sisters’ husbands’ neighbours works at a furniture shop, and could build your cupboards in a day and at half the price. You instantly see a saving opportunity. Only it comes back to haunt you when they come off even at a gentle tug. Check references of the contractors you use. Ask for certification or portfolios of previous work even. Obtain a guarantee for the work to be done. Don’t buy into the Jack-of-all-trades contractors; rather choose specialists who have perfected their art.

 4-Choosing to take the DIY route without much skill

We’ve all seen the online memes of attempts to recreate looks from pictures found on the net. It usually doesn’t end well. The results are normally something that looks like a pre scholar’s first school project. The same idea applies to home renovations. A lot of time and money could be wasted if you’re not really a 100% on what you’re doing. If you prefer doing things on your own, practice on a smaller scale and get the help of family members.

 5 Finishes: Seeing a tile on Muvhango and ordering via a picture on social media

You’re better off obtaining a sample, with the product code and colour from the supplier. Between phone filters, there is fine line between white and soft yellow. Once 100 square meters of the yellow tile has been ordered and trucked in from Vhenda , there could be no option for returns.

These days renovations do not come cheap, badly done work could affect more than your wallet. Your reputation and quality of life could be ruined. This could be avoided with some care and my advice of course.

Happy renovations.

Busi Shange is an  Interior Designer. 


Function, Form and the Frills: Why Interior Design Matters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *