Using the wrong materials on your renovation or makeover can have an enormously negative impact, so here is my list of the top things to avoid.

Flooring
1) When it comes to flooring, you need to consider durability and comfort as well as appearance. It’s always best to avoid cheap laminate or timber flooring. They might look good on display (often in the big chain stores), but these products are usually manufactured using low-cost materials and construction, causing issues over time.
2) Avoid cheap carpet for your home – Cheaper carpets made of materials like polypropylene can have great durability which makes them useful for rental properties or low budget housing, but they don’t usually feel very nice underfoot. They can also have a shiny look to them and feel crisp and unnatural.
Better flooring choices include solution-dyed carpet, quality vinyl, vinyl plank flooring or good quality timber flooring.

Wall and Floor Tiles
3) If you’re tiling your bathroom, laundry or kitchen, the thing to avoid is low quality grout as it will result in problems in the long term.
4) Ensure you use the right colour grout for the area (I usually recommend a grout the same colour as the tile) and avoid white tiles on the bathroom floor at all costs!.

Cabinetry
5) If you decide to use 2-pac for your cabinetry, get it made up locally rather than buying straight off-the-shelf imported products. Often, the off-the-shelf products are made overseas, and it can be challenging to get an exact colour match should you need to replace part of the cabinetry down the track. Buying local means you are more likely to source the right colour without too much trouble in the future.
6) If your budget only allows for laminate cabinets, make sure you avoid laminate with a cheap or tape edging. It is not very hard-wearing and is susceptible to damage, especially on the doors. ABS edging (similar to PVC) is a more durable option.
7) Although vinyl wrap has a poor reputation, quality has vastly improved in recent years. When it first came out, vinyl wrap was applied using an adhesive that wasn’t very heat-resistant. However, much has changed, so if you avoid anything too cheap and buy a quality vinyl wrap, you will find it is much harder wearing than 2-pac. It also has some good solid colour options.

Tapware
8) Tapware needs to be of reasonable quality and installed by a competent plumber or it could end up costing you a small fortune over time. Installing cheaper tapware can result in three problems; Firstly, the water flow is often inadequate. Secondly, the products are not normally very water efficient, leading to higher water usage costs. Thirdly, cheaper taps often rust out and cause leaks. Unfortunately, these leaks are usually behind a wall, so it means pulling wall tiles off to reach them which is a big job and could cost you thousands. It’s not worth the risk just to save one or two hundred dollars at the outset.

Lighting
9) Electricity is not something you want to mess with, so don’t buy cheap light fixtures. The quality just isn’t there and it can become quite unsafe. Cheap or faulty fixtures will more than likely send your electricity bill through the roof too. If you need to cut back on something, buy less expensive light shades if possible.

Paint
10) Paint is another area where it pays to buy a quality product; it’s not that much more expensive and the result is always better. Poorer quality paint generally does not give a consistent look over large areas and can peel easily. It can also develop a streaky look and a different texture after washing.

Blinds
There are quite a few good off-the-shelf products in this area, but there are a couple of things to take into consideration;
11) Metal Venetian style blinds are susceptible to bending and, once bent, never look as good as new.
12) If you are buying roller blinds, go for a mid to dark grey or something similar rather than white as white gets grubby quickly. Also, ensure the blind mechanism is of decent quality so you don’t have to replace it after a few years.

I hope these tips help you avoid some nasty reno and makeover traps!

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