10 Kitchen Renovation Mistakes to Avoid


As you get ready to start your kitchen renovations, have you considered how to avoid the most common pitfalls? Or what they even are? By addressing these areas, you can keep your renovation project on track in turning out just as you had envisioned. To get started, use this guide to learn about avoiding the most common kitchen renovation mistakes, so you can effectively partner with your kitchen contractors.

1. Having an Unrealistic Budget

Your budget for kitchen renovations must match your project expectations to ensure you achieve the results you seek. Otherwise, you could end up having to reluctantly cut corners to finish your project – or run your finances dry trying to avoid compromises. Accurately estimating your budget in the first place can help you stay on track financially while completing the renovations to your satisfaction. To avoid underestimating, start by determining what funds you have available for the project, and then get quotes from contractors to see how they compare. If there is a rather large difference, not to worry.

On average, full kitchen remodels cost upwards of $25,000 with a large percentage of those funds used for materials. Although it varies from region to region, labour rates for kitchen contractors rarely exceed 35% of the entire bill. Therefore, you can control your costs somewhat by switching up the materials you select for your project. Although you never want to compromise on quality, there are many suitable options at lower price points when it comes to cabinets, countertops and flooring.

kitchen with light grey cabinets

2. Lacking Funds for Unexpected Costs

Even with a well-defined budget and project plan in hand, unexpected problems could still arise as your kitchen contractors dig into the project. During the demolition stage, in particular, their efforts may reveal areas in need of repair and reinforcement before the project can continue. You must have funds available to handle these problems or your kitchen renovations could stall until you do.

You can make sure that you have enough money available to handle all potential problems that arise by adding about 25 percent to your budget. Depending on the scope of your project, having between $5,000 and $6,400 extra available can provide the safety net you need for unexpected expenses. In addition to having funds available, remember to have a new work order completed for the unexpected repairs. You will need to review the scope of service and costs associated with that work before authorizing its completion.

3. Overlooking Ventilation for Your Kitchen Renovations

As you plan to change the appliances, cabinets and other elements throughout your kitchen, you must look at the ventilation system to ensure everything fits together properly. Overlooking this key area could leave your beautifully renovated kitchen filled with smoke and odors as you cook. With help from your kitchen contractors, you can prevent this problem by replacing the ventilation ductwork and upgrading the range hood.

Skilled kitchen contractors can effectively route the proper ductwork through the space to fit your new appliances and effectively direct smoke and odors outside. They can also help you select the range hood that will best suit your style preferences and kitchen design. The range hood styles you can choose between include:

  • Under cabinet
  • Downdraft
  • Island
  • Wall-chimney

Ductless hoods are also available, but they are generally not recommended as they do not eliminate smoke and odors from the living space. You can rely on our 360° Verified kitchen contractors to help you find the right elements to match your kitchen design and lifestyle preferences.

Mathieu Project - Kitchen

4. Leaving Out Extra Kitchen Storage

The vast majority of the space in your kitchen is dedicated to storage. Within the confines of that space, you likely store your cookware, utensils, food, beverages, pet food & treats, countertop appliances, linens, cleaning products & tools.

Therefore, as you complete your kitchen renovations, you have to keep your eye on maximizing storage to ensure everything has a place to go, so you can keep clutter to a minimum.

To accomplish this goal, take the time to consider where you would like to store the items you normally keep in the kitchen. Look at how you can take advantage of every open wall space to increase your storage options beyond the currently available space. Consider adding shelves, racks or hooks to those areas to give yourself space for all your kitchen tools and supplies. You can also install specialty storage pieces, such as paper towel holders and spice racks, to customize the space.

Kitchen storage

5. Coming Up Short on Lights and Outlets

The overall comfort and utility of your kitchen greatly depends on the presence of ample lights and outlets in all the right places. Poor lighting in the kitchen can make it difficult to safely complete your tasks. It can also have a profoundly negative impact on your comfort. You can overcome this issue by having your kitchen contractors integrate lights not only overhead, but also underneath the cabinetry and along the countertops.

They can also help you select the perfect number of outlets and determine where to best place them throughout your kitchen design. The Canadian Electrical Code regulations help guide their decisions in this area, but you still have room for a lot of say. You can let your kitchen contractors know exactly where you prefer to have your outlets and in what quantities. Depending on your preferences and current configurations, they may also need to upgrade your electrical panel or make other changes to accommodate the extra outlets.

Kitchen lighting

6. Selecting the Wrong Materials for Your Lifestyle

Your lifestyle plays a major role in determining the materials that will work best in your kitchen. If you prefer to cook with cast iron pans, for example, laminate countertops and other relatively delicate surfaces will not stand up to the test of time in your household. You will need to look at how your preferred activities and actions will affect the materials to keep from having to repeat the renovations in the near future.

You should also consider the cleaning and maintenance needs of each material you intend to use in your kitchen renovations. If you prefer to keep these needs to a minimum, look for low maintenance solutions that match your design preferences. For the look of marble without the upkeep requirements, for example, you can elect to use countertops made from quartz instead. There are many kitchen countertop materials out there. Taking the time to match the materials to your lifestyle will help your kitchen renovations benefit you for the long-term.

Kitchen materials

7. Failing to Plan the Workflow of Your Kitchen

A good kitchen workflow allows you to complete your daily tasks without wasting steps or working too hard. The workflow of your kitchen plots between the three main workstations: the sink, oven and refrigerator. As you prep and cook your meals, you tend to move back and forth between these areas many times – potentially resulting in a lot of wasted steps if you have the wrong design.

To maximize the efficiency of your kitchen, you must optimize the flow between these three areas. The most efficient design places these elements in a triangle with about four to nine feet of space between each one. You can go one step further by creating dedicated work zones that store all the supplies for every activity you complete in your kitchen, such as food prep, baking and candy making. A kitchen designer can help you achieve what you need.

Kitchen Triangle

8. Missing the Mark in Planning Daily Life Logistics

Living in your home while it is under renovation can elevate your stress levels as you are forced to find other ways to complete vital daily tasks. Of all projects, kitchen renovations tend to disrupt daily life the most, which is why you need to have a plan well before the job starts. If you cook breakfast on the stovetop every day without fail, for example, you’ll need to find a different approach to handling your morning meal.

Taking your time to plan out how you will manage meals and cleaning tasks will go a long way in helping keep stress levels low. After all, a kitchen remodel can take anywhere between 4 and 12 weeks! To assist in this process, let your kitchen contractors know about any concerns you have about potential disruptions to your daily activities. They will let you know what to expect through every stage of your renovations, so you can mitigate the factors that may disrupt your routine. Your Renovation Advisor can also act as a key resource in helping you understand what to expect.

Ruest Project - Kitchen

9. Completing the Kitchen Renovations Yourself

The potential to save money on labour by doing your kitchen renovations yourself is tempting at first thought. There is a lot more to kitchen renovations than simply tearing the old materials out and replacing them with new ones, however. You may need to reroute your plumbing, electrical or ductwork as you change the layout and design of your kitchen space, just to name a few things.

To properly attend to these areas, you will likely need specialty tools and training along with a hefty dose of experience – all things kitchen contractors have to offer. In addition, kitchen contractors always follow strict protocols to ensure the completed renovations are up to code and pass inspection. They also streamline the process of acquiring permits that ensure your project complies with the Ontario Building Code guidelines. As this process is often complex and time-consuming, trying to navigate it alone often proves fruitless and frustrating at best.

kitchen renovation worksite

10. Choosing Kitchen Contractors Who Will Not Meet Your Needs

The single biggest mistake you can make in your kitchen renovation project is going with kitchen contractors who will not meet your needs. Whether the contractors just do not have the right level of experience or cannot see your vision of the end result, it does not matter. In the end, they are simply not right for the job. To find the perfect level of service, you must put your time into finding contractors who will see your project through and ensure it meets your expectations in every way. You’ll need to check their license validity, past client references, and much more to ensure they’re the right fit. If you’re looking for a little more guidance, take a look at our article: Choosing a Renovation Contractor: 14 Essential Questionsto Ask Before You Settle “The One”.

Kitchen Renovation Guide

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Thankfully, you can easily accomplish that goal by acquiring support from our team at RenoAssistance. We will happily connect you with kitchen contractors skilled in completing projects similar to yours. With a call to our team, we will help you acquire up to three quotes from competing contractors who have passed our 360° Verification process. You can trust our advisors to provide the information you need to plan your project and daily life logistics – and breeze through your kitchen renovations with ease.

We are here to help you get started on your kitchen renovations project! Call us at 1-888-670-9742 today or fill out our online form, if you prefer, to begin getting your free quotes. Our service is at no cost, no obligation to you! 

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