How Real-Life Renos Differ from Home Improvement Reality TV

Whether you’ve seen one or two episodes of Fixer Upper or are a diehard home makeover reality TV junkie, it’s easy to understand the appeal of watching a complete home makeover. After all, who wouldn’t want their home reno — from the messy teardown to the stunning reveal — to happen in just under an hour?

We all know that what we see on reality TV isn’t always an accurate portrayal of everyday life. However, watching these programs has undoubtedly changed your expectations, leaving you feeling more knowledgeable about the design and renovation process.

If you want to avoid frustration and disappointment while hiring contractors to do your own home improvements, it’s important to understand how TV reality shows differ from real life.

Major home improvements such as kitchen and bathroom remodels can take weeks, not days, to finish properly.

Don’t be fooled by the lightning-fast turnaround on television. Items such as countertops, cabinetry and plumbing fixtures usually need to be ordered months in advance. When you see a large project completed quickly on your favourite program, what you’re not seeing is the scrambling going on behind the scenes. Often, contractors on these shows are working around the clock to meet the show’s tight deadline. From the initial consultation and design to obtaining the proper permits, ordering materials, and coordinating schedules, quality home renovations take time.

The bottom line: The bigger the job, the longer it’s going to take.

The renovation costs on TV reality shows are unrealistic.

Are the contractors on the reality show lowballing their prices to get TV exposure for their company? Is the cost of labour factored into their quote? Did the homeowners have to pay extra for the cost of design? You need to keep these “realities” in mind when planning your own home improvement.

The bottom line: Superior design, quality materials and expert craftsmanship are worth paying for.

Drama is for television – not your home reno.

Unlike the sterile, fast-paced home renos you see on television, real-life renovations by experienced, qualified contractors involve weeks to properly plan, coordinate and execute. Unlike their entertainment-driven reality TV counterparts, successful contractors do everything they can to avoid drama and surprises by correctly anticipating each step of the renovation process.

With little or no technical knowledge to base their decisions on, homeowners can quickly become overwhelmed and frustrated by the multitude of decisions involved over the course of a renovation. This is where professional designers come in.  Designers have years of design training and experience and can offer you their professional perspective, sharing the tricks of the trade to maximize your space and get the kitchen, bath or home renovation you’re looking for.

Professional designers have comprehensive knowledge in design, along with construction, plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems. They’re trained to see the problems before they occur and plan strategically to not only enhance the beauty of the space but the client experience, as well.

Before work begins on your home, you should be provided with a detailed description of all the work that will be done. If your design and renovation goals don’t match your budget, the contractor/design firm you consult will tell you that up front.

The bottom line: Unlike reality TV, drama is the enemy of a real-life reno. Choose a contractor with the qualifications and experience to get the job done right.