8 Hurdles That Can Derail Your Renovation Project

After the pandemic, many people were looking for ways to freshen up their space. Kitchen and bathroom remodel are popular among homeowners. Some people even renovate their outdoor space by adding a deck. These projects often have multiple steps and sometimes come with unexpected challenges. Here are a few hurdles to look out for during your renovation project. 

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, and San Diego Counties with reliable contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about hurdles that can derail their renovation project – here are some ideas & tips to keep your project on track.

1. Using Low-Quality Materials

8 Hurdles Renovation Project Wall

One mistake people make is using cheap materials. While they may be more affordable, they won’t last as long. Then when they break down, you’re stuck with costly repairs. Also, keep in mind cheap materials can lower your property value. Plus, affordable products are sometimes made with harmful chemicals.  

So, buy high-quality materials, such as natural stone. You can find these at places like Home Depot, Lowes, or IKEA. When choosing your building materials, consider your climate. For example, wood siding can be damaged in areas with long rainy seasons. Another thing to pay attention to is if the items are readily available. More unique pieces may take longer to deliver, extending your project timeline. 

2. Only Measuring Things Once

8 Hurdles Renovation Project Ruler

Measuring your interior and decor is essential. Improper fitting furniture can lead to reordering items. When you restock supplies, it wastes both time and money. Even a half-or a quarter-inch off can cause problems. So, double-check your measurements and write them down before ordering supplies. Suppose you hired a professional contractor. Make sure they confirm your measurements.

Record the measurements on an easily accessible piece of paper. Consider buying grid paper to help you accurately draw the layout. Start by outlining the general shape of the room. Measure the space overall and start in the corner. Then record the widths and heights of doors, windows, and other openings. With these measurements, you can better figure out which items will fit properly within the space.

3. Not Having a Proper Budget 

8 hurdles renovation project calculation

A budget is essential to stay on track. Without it, you may be tempted to splurge on high-end finishes. Also, knowing estimated costs ensures you’re not scrambling to find cash last minute. So, start by researching the average price of remodeling in your area. The average cost to renovate a house in LA is about $85,000. Also, get quotes from multiple contractors and work with interior designers. 

When creating your budget, account for hidden expenses such as permits and clean up. You might also try to DIY things to save costs. However, if you make a mistake, it can be expensive down the road. You can do simple projects like demolition or painting. Yet, leave the electrical and plumbing work to the professionals. 


4. Not Considering Natural Light 

8 Hurdles Renovation Project Home

Natural light can make a home feel larger and more welcoming. Plus, it can boost your mood throughout the day. To add more light, install larger windows. Include these within your design plan to prevent costly changes down the road. Determine the placement of the casements to ensure they fit within the layout. Also, plan out the number of windows to have enough wall space. Natural light also adds more value to your home. 

Here are a few more ways to increase sunlight within your house:

  • Paint with light colors. 
  • Add mirrors.
  • Decorate with glass materials. 
  • Install skylights.
  • Use thinner curtain fabrics. 

5. Skimping on Windows 

8 hurdles renovation project home


Windows and doors are essential structural elements that impact interior and exterior design. Poor quality casements can wear down more quickly. Also, improperly fitted ones can cause energy leaks. Another thing to consider is older windows can decrease your curb appeal. This could potentially lower the value of your home. 

So, during your next renovation project, install vinyl windows with Low-E glass, which is more energy-efficient. Vinyl is also easy to maintain and lasts longer. Also, caulk and weatherstrip your casements to prevent drafts. This can reduce your utility bills as well. 

6. Unexpected Rot

8 hurdles renovation project calendar

Water and moisture can get trapped within wall cavities. It can come from a burst pipe or leaky roof. Once water enters, it can damage wooden structures. This can cause a safety hazard for your family. The wet surfaces can also potentially grow mold. Then you have extra costs and project delays for repairing damage and drying the area. 

Therefore, have your home properly inspected before starting the renovation. See if your contractor has any recommendations for trusted companies. Also, have a professional check for pests or hazardous materials, such as asbestos. 

7. Outdated Plumbing and Electric

8 hurdles renovation project plumbing

Defective plumbing can be hidden inside your walls. You might accidentally ignore it until you start demolition. Although, any loose-fitting or broken pipes will need immediate repair. These expenses can increase your budget and delay the project. You might also discover that your plumbing is too old and doesn’t meet building codes. Suppose you still have galvanized or cast iron ductwork. This may need to be updated. 

Another issue is any outdated electrical systems. These are often forgotten areas since they are hidden behind drywall. Keep in mind improper wiring can be a safety hazard. You also want to ensure the system can handle modern appliances and is up to code. If not, you need to make expensive replacements before continuing with the renovation project. So, have a professional inspect your plumbing and electrical before you start demolition. 

8. Not Meeting Building Codes

8 hurdles renovation project building codes

There are certain regulations set by the ​​International Code Council (ICC) for any construction project. These indicate standards for plumbing, electrical systems, and structural elements. For example, there are specific rules for where to place fire alarms. 

If you don’t follow the codes, you may have to redo your project or pay fines. Plus, it may make it harder to sell the house later. Start by checking with your local municipal office for specific codes. Also, ask about any local changes or modifications that have been adopted. Make sure to keep these rules in mind during the planning phase. This will ensure construction isn’t delayed. 

How to Keep Your Renovation Project on Track 

Renovations can create a stylish and functional space. Before completing the project, it’s essential to plan. Consider things such as your budget, material, and building codes. This ensures you can afford the materials and aren’t making too many changes down the line. 

Also, have your home inspected for any hidden damages. Dealing with repairs during the remodel can be costly and extend the timeline. So, follow these tips for a successful home renovation. 

When it comes to remodeling on a budget, you shouldn’t have to go it alone – GreatBuildz can help simplify your renovation experience.


GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura or San Diego with reliable, thoroughly screened general contractors and provides project support from start to finish. Call now (818.317.3567) to chat with a real person about your next remodel project or visit our website for more information: www.greatbuildz.com


Rose Morrison is a home & construction writer from Pittsburgh, PA. She’s the managing editor of Renovated, a web magazine for the real estate industry. She’s most interested in sharing home projects and inspiration for the most novice of DIY-ers, values she developed growing up in a family of contractors.

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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