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Renovation Tips: Getting It Right the First Time


Renovation projects require meticulous planning. Whether you're tackling a DIY project or hiring contractors, these tips will help you save time and money while ensuring your project runs smoothly.

We Recently Renovated. Here's What We Learned...

Are you planning a renovation project to transform your space into something new and beautiful? Renovations can be exciting, but they also come with their fair share of challenges. To help you avoid common pitfalls, we've gathered some renovation tips from our recent experience, from dealing with uneven concrete floors to selecting the right tiles for your project.

1. Prepare Your Subfloor

Before installing vinyl wood flooring or any other type of flooring, it’s essential to prep your subfloor. In our renovation project, we started by pulling up the old carpet that covered an uneven concrete floor. The concrete had small variations and traces of leftover carpet glue, which could create noticeable imperfections under the new flooring. To address this issue, make sure to:

  • Scrape, Sand, and Level: Invest time and effort in sanding down or leveling out the concrete. This will create a smooth, even surface for your new flooring. Remember that any small variations in the subfloor will be felt when walking over them, so take this step seriously.
  • Use Self-Leveling Compounds: If your concrete floor has significant imperfections, consider using self-leveling compounds. These products can help you achieve a perfectly flat surface, ensuring a flawless finish for your vinyl wood flooring.
  • Use Underlayment: When installing vinyl flooring over a concrete subfloor, underlayment is indispensable. It provides insulation for temperature control, cushioning for comfort, noise reduction for quiet living, and the ability to mask subfloor imperfections. Additionally, underlayment can act as a moisture barrier, extending the lifespan of your vinyl flooring while ensuring a smooth and durable surface. In short, underlayment is the unsung hero that enhances the overall quality and longevity of your vinyl flooring, making it a vital consideration for your renovation project.

2. Pay Attention to Tile Selection

When it comes to tile selection, we learned an important lesson. We installed new tiles from a reputable home improvement store, but we overlooked an essential detail—checking the batch numbers. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Batch Numbers Matter: Don’t rely solely on the appearance of the tiles to ensure a perfect match. Tiles from different batches can have slight differences in shade, which might be hard to detect in certain lighting conditions. Always check the side of the tile boxes for the batch or lot number, and make sure they match.
  • Order from the Same Batch: If you can’t find enough boxes with the same batch number, consider ordering directly from a local tile store. This extra effort will ensure that your tiles are consistent in color and appearance throughout your renovation project.
  • Inspect Your Tiles: It’s always a good idea to unpack all of your tiles and lay them out on the floor, so you can verify they are all in perfect condition and they all match, before passing them on to your installer.
 3. Electrical Upgrades

Plan Ahead: Before you start collecting quotes from different contractors, map out your renovation and consider if you’ll need extra switches, outlets, or mounted light fixtures in specific places. It’s crucial to include these details in your initial discussions with the contractor. If you add these items to the project scope after they’ve already accepted the job, you may find yourself facing hefty fees for change orders.

4. Dealing with Paneling

Uncover the Truth: If you’re covering up old paneling with sheetrock, resist the temptation to skip a thorough inspection. Ripping out the paneling provides a unique opportunity to assess your walls for various issues. Look for signs of old termite, mouse, or rat damage, as well as potential leaks. While it may add a bit to your budget, addressing these concerns will not only increase your house’s longevity by strengthening the walls but may also help resolve lingering odor problems.

Photo from Samplize.com

5. Choosing the Right Paint Colors

Sample Your Selections: When it comes to choosing the right paint colors, ordering paint swatches from resources like samplize.com can be a game-changer. These samples offer a practical way to visualize your paint choices in different lighting conditions. You can either peel off the backing and stick them on a wall or use painter’s tape to temporarily attach them. This allows you to move them around, compare them on various walls, and save them for future projects, ensuring you make the perfect choice for your renovation.

6. Upgrading to a Ceiling Fan

Secure Your Fan: When switching out a light fixture and replacing it with a ceiling fan, you should consider updating the mounting bracket. Ceiling fans are heavier than traditional light fixtures, and a secure mounting bracket is essential for safety and long-term architectural integrity. Neglecting this step could lead to issues down the road, so make sure to address it during your renovation.

7. Bathroom Renovation Essentials

Install an Exhaust Fan: If you’re embarking on a bathroom renovation, don’t forget the importance of proper ventilation. Installing an exhaust fan is crucial, especially if there isn’t one already in place. An exhaust fan helps to remove excess moisture and keeps your bathroom smelling pleasant. It also plays a significant role in preventing mold and mildew growth, ensuring the longevity and comfort of your renovated bathroom.

8. Dimmer Switches for Lighting Control

Create Customizable Ambiance: Light switches play a crucial role in setting the mood in your home. While changing out light switches, think about adding dimmer switches. Dimmers provide you with the ability to create customizable lighting ambiance that can be enjoyed by your family and guests. There are numerous modern dimmer options available, including touch dimmers. We love the Lutron Sunnata Touch Dimmer Switch which can be found at Lowe’s or on Amazon

  • Be sure to pair your dimmer switches with lights that say “dimmable.” Some light fixtures and light bulbs are not made to be dimmable, but we found that there were tons of dimmable light selections available in-stores and online.

These special considerations will help you address specific needs within your renovation project. Whether it’s upgrading for safety, enhancing lighting control, or ensuring proper ventilation, each of these aspects contributes to a successful and satisfying renovation. Remember to plan thoroughly, and you’ll be well on your way to a beautiful and functional space that you and your family can enjoy for years to come. Happy renovating!