Pitfalls of Renovating your Home

Home renovations, loft conversions and extensions

Some tips on how to avoid heavy bills

Our previous blog post on adding an extension to your home proved popular. Extensions and renovations often go hand-in-hand. This post gives some additional advice so you can make an informed decision on any project you are planning for your home.

Loft Conversions

Don’t forget – if you’re planning to do a loft conversion, you must thoroughly investigate the existing foundations.  This is usually overlooked.  

Adding weight to poor foundations is a recipe for disaster.  Many Victorian houses are often built on old railway sleepers. After 130+ years, these are rotting or are already rotten. The rising water table in the Greenwich area adds to the problem.


Clients often underestimate the amount of work involved with renovations. Most decide to continue to live at the property while the renovations are carried out. But do you want to live on a building site? Especially if you work from home.

There’s a lot of disruption during renovation work – dust, noise, loss of electrics and plumbing – including loss of use of your bathroom or kitchen. It can be stressful too. Imagine you’re on an important call, but the builder must carry on with demolishing work, drilling, or using a nail gun.  The delays caused by the client’s presence can increase the project’s cost by 20%.


The money clients think they will save by remaining in the house while major renovations are carried out is likely to be added to the final bill, as progress will be slowed and delayed by the client’s presence. 

Once work has started, there can be surprises. We might discover that a joist or beam needs replacing – something we couldn’t know until a floor or ceiling has been opened. 

Clients sometimes worry about losing traditional features such as coving or ceiling roses. These are easily replaced by modern, lightweight versions which look just as good as the original in most cases but not always. 

We also find that many properties have sheets of 8 x 4 chipboard or three layers of ply and self-levelling compounds covering the subfloor. These floors contract and expand as the seasons change and at different movement rates. You can’t lay new hardwood flooring if the subfloor is unsuitable. This leads to additional work and costs.  

Of course, there is no way of knowing if this work needs to be done unless you lift the floor and find out. That’s why we recommend a thorough investigation before starting any renovation, especially if the project involves removing internal load-bearing walls and adding new stud walls on the first floor or converting the loft. 


We recommend setting a target cost for a renovation project, with an additional allowance of 20%-30% for contingencies.

It’s always best to consult a professional builder for advice. One who can complete your project quickly and without hassle.  

Get in touch with our experts at S & M Solutions Ltd today.

For quality, trusted building contractors in London, get in touch today.

 Book your free, no obligation consultation now and find out what we could do for you.

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