Canada’s home renovation market hit $80 billion last year. The 2020 Reno report attributed the increase to the COVID 19-induced relocations and lockdowns, which compelled residents to make the best of their homes. With such renovations comes a cost, especially as the average Canadian spends up to $50,000 for a basic full-house remodeling. To avoid the high costs associated with these projects, many have cut corners and become victims of their deeds. You wouldn’t want to find yourself in such a fix, and this article discusses seven ways you could be shooting yourself in the foot by cutting cost corners during your home renovations.
There is every reason to be worried about safety when you cut corners in your home renovation project. While you are thinking about saving money, the long-term (sometimes short-term) damage you will face is more costly. Indeed, it might sound like an excellent idea to consider what you can do to decrease rising costs. It’s not a bad strategy to reduce the high expenses associated with residential renovations. However, what makes it wrong and sometimes illegal, is the blatant rejection of expert construction advice. Although ignorance is not an excuse from the law, the resulting extensive damage can be more than enough to bring the authorities to your door.
Asbestos exposure is one of the standard safety concerns. A 2019 report on Canadian home renovation safety emphasized the hazardous nature of asbestos. The report revealed that old homes in the country contain different levels of asbestos-containing building materials. It further stated that in two decades (1996 to 2017), over 1000 construction workers died in the line of work from asbestos exposure. But how can you tell that your residence contains this toxic substance? There is no way to do this unless the professionals come in to check. If traces are detected, they will use safe removal methods to get the toxin out of our premises. Without this deliberate removal system, you will be risking your life, your family’s, and renovation workers’.
Reduced worker safety is another factor to consider. In cutting corners, you may have deliberately left out hiring a foreperson or construction manager. However, without their expertise, your construction workers may not carry out the accepted practices. The latter’s actions can be due to insufficient know-how or sheer convenience. When that happens, your workers risk getting injured on-site. Even worse, your group of injured workers can sue you for negligence. Apart from paying settlements, you will also be slapped with fines for failing to follow through with local safety protocols. When you cut corners with your renovation, safety is almost always the first casualty.
Poor quality craftsmanship
Poor craftsmanship produces an unappealing renovation, giving rise to whether it was worth cutting corners in the first place. Inferior quality work can take the steam out of the excitement you initially had about the renovation. If you hire inexperienced contractors or opt for substandard building materials, you will likely find yourself in this situation.
There are various ways you can compromise on the renovations, and one of them is the type of paint you purchase. There are several high-quality paint brands around the country, but you may settle on a cheap product for reasons best known to you. In just a year, you will begin to notice the devastating effects of your poor decisions. Peeling walls, flaky surfaces, fading colors are a few things you will notice first. Considering that you probably did two coats to get the desired effect for your walls, it can be pretty upsetting to see your hard work go down the drain. That’s what cheap paint offers.
Another scenario is when you use the wrong concrete mixture. You probably assumed that cutting back on your cement and sand would save you money. However, the opposite might be true. The bad concrete mixture can be detrimental to your home renovation. Especially if your project is a full-house renovation, it becomes even more problematic.
First and foremost, the wrong concrete mixture can cause large cracks in walls, result in shrinkage, and, as expected, has an overall reduced strength. This means they can break easily or cause your doors and windows to be ill-fitted. The latter is significant if you’re planning for new windows. A window replacement project requires that the walls are sturdy and of the right quality to hold vinyl or dual-pane window frames in place.
Risk of losing insurance coverage
For starters, you cannot run from your insurers when the latter discovers the shoddy work done to your residential property. First and foremost, according to Canada’s laws, homeowners are supposed to inform their insurance companies before carrying out any renovation on the property. Moreover, if it is a total renovation (and not just a part of the home), you may be required to take out additional coverage.
The idea behind this is to offer maximum protection in the event anything goes wrong. However, what many seem to forget is the indemnity clause within the insurance contract. Once your insurer has evidence to prove that you cut corners with your renovation, they will activate this clause and not pay for the damages incurred. At this point, you’re on your own.
Inability to sell the property in future
According to Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs, three types of home renovations add value to the property. These are retrofit projects, lifestyle revamps, and maintenance and repair renovations. Therefore, as long as the physical structure and necessary installations are good, you can quickly sell the house. Even better, you will feel satisfied with the price at which you let go of it. Unfortunately, the story cannot be the same for a home renovation that involves cutting corners. Remember that it may look unappealing, to begin with. And even if it doesn’t, the flaws will be visible to a trained eye.
According to the Canadian Association of Home & Property Inspectors, although the country’s legal system does not make these inspections mandatory, buyers are encouraged to request them. Therefore, after a home inspection, the defects will come to light and may result in any following. First, the buyer can ask for a drastic reduction in the selling price. Secondly, your property may be declared unfit and potentially dangerous for habitation. The latter means you don’t get to sell, resulting in a total loss.
Risk of losing initial home certification
Building certification in Canada is done to confirm the structure or property as safe for habitation. Unfortunately, some conditions have to be met to acquire this certification. When you fail to use the correct safety protocols during renovation, you risk losing your initial pass. That is interpreted as having messed with the original safety conditions of the building. At this stage, you will pay fines and penalties as stipulated by the country’s laws. After that, you will be ordered to take up the cost of correcting all structural defects by hiring professional building contractors. Therefore, in essence, taking the cheapest way out can be more costly than you imagined.
Increased risk of pipe bursts
A 2018 Vancouver Sun news report mentioned residential pipe bursts as the country’s most expected water damage incidents. In 2019, it maintained its position in the top five causes of home damage. For people breaking walls or renovating bathrooms and kitchens, the utmost care must be taken. Unfortunately, for a person cutting corners with home renovation, there may be no sense of urgency to critically examine the danger this poses. Therefore, while breaking down walls to open up space, there is an increased risk of nicking a pipeline. Damage can be gradual until pressure gives way to a burst pipe. In some cases, the damage may not be initially noticed until that area of the sealed wall begins to show signs of mold. The only plausible explanation for this is water finding its way within your concrete walls.
Increased risk of fire damage
If you carried out maintenance or repair renovations, you likely contacted some electrical wiring within the property. These are highly skilled jobs that require that a professional electrician inspects their condition. However, because you plan to avoid more costs, you may skimp out of this crucial inspection. Ultimately, you end up with an increased risk of fire damage to your property. In 2019, 73% of residential fires accounted for total property loss. Additionally, 20% (2021 stats) of all accidental fires in Canada were electrical faults, which should encourage you to take them seriously. Therefore, instead of focusing on how much money you get to save from not doing the needful, turn your attention to keeping your property from looming destruction.
Ironically, it is even more expensive to cut corners with your renovation project. Therefore, you are better off doing the right thing from the beginning and enjoying its lasting benefits. Nobody who cut corners with their projects lived without associated repercussions. Hopefully, you’d avoid the temptation of cheap home improvement practices for the best results.
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