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10 Things to Know During a Home Renovation

Good morning everyone! Not too long ago I shared a blog with you that listed 15 things you need to know BEFORE a home renovation … welp, today I’m back with more tips for you but this time around I’m sharing things you need to know DURING a home renovation! These are a few little things Justin and I learned from others annnd a few of them we learned ourselves … the hard way! LOL!

Be warned … this is a little bit of a dry blog but it’s SO important for anyone going through a build and renovation … even MORE important than my favourite paint colours … LOL!! Don’t stress though … I’m in the process of writing a blog that’s TOTALLY dedicated to my fave colours and the paint I used in my home … stay tuned for that one!

In the meantime … let’s tackle these!!

Jillian Harris What You Need to Know During a RenoJillian Harris What You Need to Know During a RenoJillian Harris What You Need to Know During a Reno

1. Hold Back 10%

Always hold back at least 10% from your contractor until you’re 100% happy and all deficiencies are taken care of, that way if something has gone wrong or hasn’t been fixed, it will need to be corrected prior to full payment.

2. Warranty Letters

Ask for warranty letters from your contractor and subcontractors for your home renovation, these letters outline how long their workmanship and materials are guaranteed for … if something fails within this period of time, they are required to fix it.

3. Verify your Contractor is Paying your Sub-contractors

Make sure to ask for a Statutory Declaration of Progress Payment Distribution letter. This letter serves as confirmation that your contractor is paying your subcontractors. This is REALLY important because you could pay your contractor in full and they could take off to Mexico and may not pay your subcontractors which would result in them putting a lien on your house and you could end up double paying!

4. Occupancy Letter

Make sure you get an occupancy permit before you move in, you MUST have this to stay there … the city needs to make sure that everything in your home renovation is up to code and that things are working properly BEFORE you move in.

5. Review Your Invoices

I never took the time I should have to do this during our home renovation because I was so busy but I would highly suggest reviewing your invoices every time and look out for any discrepancies, if you find some make SURE to bring them up BEFORE you pay, it’s very difficult to question something after you pay and later down the road!

6. Put Up Nest Cams

If you can, I would recommend putting up Nest Cams in your home so you can keep an eye on the property when you’re not there. They also come in handy if there is a problem, you can go back to the footage and review anything you need.

7. Take Photos

Once a day or even as little as once a week, it’s a good idea to walk around the site and take photos of EVERYTHING before your house gets drywalled. Later down the road, if there is a problem, like a leak, you can go back to those photos are see where the issue may be coming from and what’s inside of your walls!

8. Ask Your Contractor Lots of Questions

Ever heard of the phrase. there’s no such thing as a stupid question?! Welp. It’s true. Make sure to walk through your home and the site with your contractor and ask as MANY questions as possible, more information is ALWAYS better than not enough!

9. Communicate via Email

Try to communicate via email as MUCH as you can, that way everything is tracked! If something seems wrong with your home renovation or different than you asked, you can always refer to your emails to verify!

10. Invest in Wine

Yup that’s right … you simply can’t pull off a full blown reno without vino … AKA the “problem solver” ??

Jillian Harris What You Need to Know During a RenoJillian Harris What You Need to Know During a RenoJillian Harris What You Need to Know During a Reno

photo credit

There you have it! I hope you found some of these tips helpful … if YOU have any advice you’d like to share on home renovations, PLEASE comment below, I’d love to hear your tips!!



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  1. I am really hoping to get a quick response to a simple question.
    We are doing a bathroom Reno that the vanity area looks very similar to yours. I cannot find the double wall sconce like yours anywhere (with the stick coming down). Could you please let me know where you got both the mirrors and sconce from in your master bathroom! Thanks

  2. I thought you had some black and white framed pictures of you and your family in the house I think in the hallway? Would you post a photo of them? Thanks! Love the house <3

  3. Hi Jillian! Thanks for the post! Was wondering where you got your living room coffe table from since it’s not posted- it’s perfect!

  4. I’ve found that a lot of the reno’s we have done ended up costing more than originally thought. (Especially if doing it ourselves..) Have a contingency fund in case of emergencies and if you are lucky enough to not have to use it, spoil yourself with upgraded hardware!

  5. Thanks Jillian! We’re going to be building in the spring and we don’t have a clue what we’re doing! Lol. This blog totally gave me some insight into some of the things we never would have thought of! Thanks!!

  6. Thank you very much for the information. I will definitely keep this posting on file for when we do our renovations on our home which is also in Kelowna, BC.

  7. Thanks for the great advice. We are about to embark on building our waterfront retirement home. I am looking forward to it but loosing sleep with all that is going on in my head. Quick question what kind of siding did you use vinyl or wood?

  8. Great advise!! When will your blog with your fav paint colors be up?? I am getting down to crunch time for when I need to pick my colors for my kitchen Reno and I’m dying to know what shades of white you went with for your walls and wood trims!! Also, what grout color/brand you used in your kitchen for the backsplash tiles! Thank you so much!! ?

  9. Hey Jillian!

    I am looking for a large wicker basket for my living room and I am having trouble finding one. I clicked on your basket to see where you got it from and the link doesn’t work 🙁

  10. Currently building a house in Kelowna and MY OH MY is it a lot of work. I wanted to make it my own project so I didn’t ask the help of a designer……. and picking out every single little detail from door knobs to dimmers is time consuming….especially with a busy 1 year old. And doing it from out of town (hubby working in Calgary for a contract). And while finishing up my nutrition course. LOL.
    Do you have tips on how to pick the perfect light fixtures and hardware?? Should we be mixing metals? Staying within the same “style”, or mix and match?
    Agreed with tip #10. Lots of wine being consumed as I scroll down endlessly on looking for that perfect wall sconce…..aha!

  11. Yep, 2 liens later and a legal battle we are still going through this months later.
    no. 11 Make sure you know a good litigation lawyer

  12. Hi Jillian, you are pure awesome!

    Can you please tell me which floor boards you installed in the pics above? Thanks!

  13. Thank you for this post – just what I needed! I’m preparing a home renovation and this will be very helpful for me. And yes from my previous experience we all need wine!

  14. I know you said a more detailed post is coming but any chance you could share your kitchen cabinet paint color? Please, please please 🙂

  15. Hope it’s not too random that I’m inquiring what brand did you go with for your kitchen appliances and what kind of island top did you pick? I think my brain might explode from all the decisions we have to make soon. EEk! Thanks so much for all the great tips :).

  16. Hi Jillian,
    I was wondering what window treatment you have on your kitchen window and where you bought it.
    Thanks, Gwen

  17. Your house is so lovely. Thx for sharing.
    What colour are your kitchen cabinets and your walls? It s a lovely white. I’m guessing Oxford White or Chantilly Lace?
    I have BM White Dove cabinets, and dark hardwood flooring, and am trying to coordinate a wall colour.

    Thanks for the great posts.


  18. You are my inspiration for our house that we are building. I love your floor. Do you have that throughout the house? Do you mind sharing what type of floor you got and from where?

    Thank you!

  19. we are picking a backsplash for our kitchen
    white kitchen with white quartz with a bit of grey it
    could we go with a light grey grout on white subway tile?

  20. Hi! My family is starting a reno in two months, and my husband and I would love to see what your buffet/hutch looks like while we are in the planning phase. Your kitchen is gorgeous, and we would appreciate any help in the dining room that we can get! Do you have any pictures that you would be willing to post? Thank you!

  21. I really hope to hear back from you soon! Can you please tell me where you got your floors, what color they are and maybe if I can get a good deal anywhere? Also, what color did you choose for you countertops?

  22. Your house is absolutely stunning!!!! My husband and I are in the process of building and your home it’s such a great source for inspiration! I absolutely love your kitchen and have been trying to search for countertop source on your blog but can’t seem to find it. Is there anyway you could share? Thank you so much!

  23. Hi Jillian,

    I read your post on top tips for paint colours. Super helpful!!

    I see you paint your trim simply white but wondering what finish you use for the trim and wainscotting? Is it egg shell or glossy? I couldn’t find this referenced.

    From one Jill to another, would love to know. In process of decorating my first nursery ?

    Thanks so much!!

  24. Life means many things, but besides taking care of your family, home and working, you should take care of you. Anyone, especially if she is a woman must have a beauty routine.

  25. Hi Jillian! We’re doing a reno in our home – kitchen and some surrounding area. Is it an option to hire you for design help and your contractors? I want someone I trust and who I know will make it an awesome/beautiful space.

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