Home renovation: the do’s and don’ts


The renovation season is on its way! Summer is around the corner, and it’s the perfect time for homeowners to renovate indoors and do some outdoor work as well. 

It’s no secret, renovations can be stressful. There is so much to think about while still needing to be able to enjoy your home even though it is under – small or significant –  renovation.

Here’s the good news: if you plan ahead of time, it will ease things up a bit.

Here are eight home renovation do’s and don’ts to help you get through the renovation season.

1. Do: Plan before you do anything.

Planning is of the essence when preparing a renovation project, and it has two meanings here.

First, you need to plan your renovation to-do list and wishlist. Is there only one room you are redoing or several rooms? Indoor, outdoor or both? And will all the renovations happen at once, or will they be separated into small projects?

Make sure that you are comfortable with the workload and length, as it will impact your quality of life for days, weeks and maybe months – depending on how long the renovations will take.

Listing all that needs to be done will help you clear your mind and avoid situations where your home feels like a battlefield.

Planning also implies actual plans. Everything needs to be measured and put on paper. Nothing is more precise than a sketch to visualize the changes and ensure no detail is left out. 

Also, if you work with a contractor or with other collaborators, a visual plan will help ensure that everyone is working towards the same vision.

You can make plans or sketches on your own, but it is sometimes worth hiring a professional to avoid surprises. You may be tempted to skip this step, but that extra couple of hundreds invested wisely could save you from mistakes that could cost you thousands of dollars later.


2. Don’t: Forget about your budget.

After listing all that needs to be done, get quotes and list the material and workforce costs. 

Make sure to add an extra 15% to the total of your budget for anything unexpected that may come your way. 

It is common for renovations to go over budget. Don’t beat yourself up if you do! Just make sure you plan for the extra and keep your budget tracker close to guide you in your decisions.

3. Do: Get the right people to do it.

Home renovations are not a small thing and shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially considering the sizable budget that goes into it. 

Hiring the right professionals will help you achieve the result you are expecting. They will infuse all their savvy that goes with the job. Renovating is like everything: you don’t become good at it simply by doing some work here and there. Practice makes perfect, so it is better to let the pro handle what they are best at.

Moreover, some aspects of the renovation can present some hazards, like electricity or plumbing. Don’t put yourself at risk for some extra bucks. Your life will never be worth it!

Interesting fact

During the pandemic, numbers of electric shocks sky-rocketed. A rise of 491% in men and 920% in women was observed in Quebec in 2020. Electricity experts would explain these statistics by the renovation madness combined with the available labour scarcity.

Looking for an expert but don’t know where to start your search? Some platforms facilitate things by connecting homeowners with high-quality home improvement professionals, like Porch.

4. Don’t: DIY

DIY projects are suitable for decoration and small home improvement projects. 

However, renovation should be handled by professionals (even if it’s just to tile your backsplash or lay your hardwood floor). 

Renovating yourself an entire kitchen or bathroom, or even parts of it is way less glamorous and fun when you’ve never done it before. Plus, it will show that renovations were handled in an amateurish way. 

It may be tempting to do so to save money, but in the end, it may impact the value of your property in the eyes of a potential buyer. 

What feels like pride to you may feel like contention to a buyer. Is it really worth doing renovations by yourself knowing that it will not add value to your property – or worse – lower its value?

5. Do: Invest in quality materials.

Slow decorating is a trend gaining popularity. Its concept? Take the time to select the right objects, materials and furniture to create the best space for you. 

It also implies choosing quality over price. In the renovation context, it could mean focusing on one room and investing in the right material quality rather than doing it all at once while cutting corners with cheaper materials.

If you’re in the process of adding smart devices to your home, we’ve outlined in our Smart Home Buying Guide all the steps to follow to select the right smart home products for you.

Selecting the proper devices also implies choosing between Wi-Fi or Zigbee products, depending on how you envision your smart home.

6. Don’t: Improvise your living area.

Renovations generate debris, dust and noise. It also means a lot of workers circulating in the home and potentially hazardous home areas.

Although contractors would even advise leaving the house for the duration of the renovations, it is not always possible to do so, and it can be expensive, too.

In addition to planning the actual renovations, you should also consider planning the use of the living areas during that time. It includes knowing where you and your family will be able to have somewhat of a quiet haven from all that turbulence. 

Small renovations don’t require much planning, but bigger ones – like kitchen or bathroom makeovers – will undoubtedly impact your family’s routine. 

For instance, make sure to have easy-prep meals that can be cooked outside the renovation area (hello barbecue!) if you’re redoing the kitchen. 

You can also seal off the renovated section to avoid dust in the entire house.

7. Do: Keep the ROI in mind.

All renovations aren’t equal as some will represent an added value in the eyes of potential buyers. 

According to experts, renovations with the best return on investment would include kitchen and bathroom improvements or makeovers and heating and air conditioning systems. They would present a return on investment of 75% to 100% and 50% to 75% return on investment rate, respectively. 

You’re considering installing floor heating in your kitchen or bathrooms? Great choice, as these heating systems do add a touch of luxury and comfort to those important rooms. 

Consider installing a smart floor heating thermostat for the best control and comfort if you’re doing so.

If you are on a low-budget, interior and exterior painting do get a great return on investment, too, with a 50% to 100% ROI rate.


8. Don’t: omit to protect your investment.

You made some wonderful home improvements. New floor, new kitchen, or you’ve improved your home theatre in the basement. Make sure you have the right smart water damage protection system installed!

A leaking water heater or an overflowing dishwasher can do a lot of damage to your newly-renovated home. 

Whether you will have a plumber coming during the renovations or not, it is worth considering the installation of a water shut-off valve combined with water leak detectors

Moreover, smart water damage protection systems can get you a reduction in your home insurance premium. Ask your insurer about it!


The extra tip: make the most of the experts on site.

An electrician or a plumber is coming during the renovations? It may be worth asking them to install those smart thermostats or light switches during their visit, even if you had planned that expense for later. This way, you will make the most out of their presence as these professionals often have a basic flat rate just for coming onsite. Killing two birds with one stone is always a winning strategy.

The conclusion

The renovation season is an exciting period where you get to upgrade your space and remove some pain points in the home. It is also a stressful time with so many things to think about. These eight do’s and don’ts will help ease up things while helping you avoid some of the most common mistakes.

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