8 Home Renovation Fails to Learn From

Evelyn Long

Jul 11, 2023

couple painting

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A home renovation comes with much to consider. It’s natural to make a mistake or two. Some errors can be costly and learning from others’ mistakes can help you make the best renovation possible. Here are eight home renovation fails to learn from. 

1. Concrete Tracks

When pouring concrete for a driveway, patio or walking path, you most likely want a nice smooth surface. However, things can go wrong during the drying process. 

An image went viral after homeowners tried to pour a nice concrete driveway near a neighboring duck pond. The resulting tracks were comical but not what they hoped their finished product would look like. 

The Lesson 

A neat feature of wet cement is you can customize it with drawings, handprints and stones. However, getting a smooth surface requires proper preparation, smoothing and protection from debris or duck prints. 

2. Painting Over Things

It’s easy to get into a rush when painting but doing so likely won’t go in your favor. Without properly cleaning your walls, you could end up with dust, dirt and debris that can cause lumps and bumps in your paint job and lead to premature chipping. 

One homeowner found that out when they weren’t paying attention to their wall when painting and ended up painting over a cockroach. 

The Lesson

Examining the surface of your wall before painting and doing your best to keep the room clean as it dries can help prevent both major and minor blemishes. 

Another easy mistake is painting over outlets and light switches. Not only can this make your paint job look messy but can make the items dangerous or hard to use. Covering your items, using water-based paint and cleaning mistakes as you go can prevent painting your fixtures from becoming a problem. 

3. Not Planning Your Driveway 

If you are doing a complete renovation on your property, you might choose to add or move your driveway. If so, plan it so you can drive it.

A driveway can be one of the last things planned when building or remodeling a home but it’s vital to consider, especially if your home’s on a steep hill. You don’t want your car to have a treacherous drive from the street to your house but waiting until you finish the home could leave you no choice. A homeowner learned the hard way when their driveway was so steep you couldn’t see the bottom from the top. 

The Lesson

Make your driveway one of the first things you plan to avoid home renovation fails. It’s your car’s route in and out of your home which means you’ll probably use it every day. If you are changing the landscape to fit your home’s foundation, have your driveway gradually rise to your property so it’s already established when you start building your garage or finishing your yard. 

4. Opening Doors Over the Staircase 

This might seem specific but is an easy mistake to make. When you put the doors on your upstairs room, ensure they don’t open over a stair. Doing so makes navigating the room entry and staircase hazardous. Someone could get struck by the door or a person not paying attention could trip and fall down the stairs. One image showed a teenager hanging from the door over the stairs. 

The Lesson 

When stairs are around, always have your doors go in towards a room, not out over the stairs. This is a much safer option and gives you more freedom to design the staircase you want. 

5. Placing Drawers Too Close Together

home renovation fails - a kitchen with corner drawers

When you remodel your kitchen or bathroom, drawer placement says a lot. When planning your corners, try not to place two drawers in a corner together. You might think that placing the drawers adjacent to one another but you could end up unable to open one all the way. If you get large handles, they can block the other one from giving you access. It leads to unused space.

The Lesson 

Corner cabinets are an excellent solution for using empty space. They are often roomy for cans or boxes but slim enough to not interfere with your other cabinetry. 

6. Putting an Outlet Too Close to Water 

home renovation fails - a power outlet under the sink

When redesigning a bathroom, kitchen or laundry area, you’ll likely need at least one outlet. However, it’s important to consider where you will put your sink before placing your outlet. In renovations where the homeowners didn’t consider it, caution became necessary. 

The Lesson 

When water gets into an outlet, it can electrocute you so it’s best to avoid placing the outlet close to your faucet. Placing the outlet above the sink can help keep it close and dry. You could also choose to put one across from your water source for extra protection and to see yourself using hair products. 

7. Not Pre-Laying Tiles 

home renovation fails - tiles laid on the floor

When choosing to lay tiles, many people choose to start laying before completely laying their tiles on the floor. If you have a square room and square tiles, what can go wrong? However, laying out your tiles can ensure you correctly space them and deduce if and where you want to cut them. Not doing so leads to uneven spaces and clunky corners. 

The Lesson 

Before you purchase the tile, ensure you measure your floor and the tile so you can decide the best size for your floor. Always lay out your tiles before you begin plastering. You can arrange them as necessary to create the perfect wall or floor. 

8. Poor Vent Placement 

home renovation fails - ventilation

Where you put your heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) vents make a huge difference in the temperature, air quality and interior design of your home. 

Placing a vent in the middle of your floor is great for air circulation but inconvenient to walk on. However, don’t place your vents where you intend to put furniture or you can block the airflow. Blocking your intake vent can prevent pollutants from entering your filtration system. When you block a return vent, your HVAC works less efficiently, leading to one of the home renovation fails.

The Lesson 

Consider where your vents will best benefit your home with your furniture layout and decor options in mind. Knowing what will be around your vents can help you use your system efficiently. 

Learning from Home Renovation Fails 

We all learn from mistakes, but they don’t have to be our own. By researching home renovation mistakes, you can make the best decisions for your home.

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