Kitchen renovations and remodels are notorious for being stressful. Sure, they’re exciting but it’s hard, expensive work and there’s too much room for plans to go awry. You’ve probably heard of a contingency budget — money set aside just in case you run into problems or surprises. They’re common, especially in older homes, built in an era where building regulations were more relaxed than today.

It’s best to go into a kitchen renovation prepared, understanding the various problems you may encounter when you begin tearing everything down. While it’s entirely possible that you may be one of the lucky ones who has a smoothe renovation, it’s always best to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

kitchen renovation problems

Here are 5 costly kitchen renovation surprises to look out for:

1. Structural Walls

Especially in older homes, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to want to tear down walls, opening up the space to make the most of the room available to them. This is a great way to make a big impact with your renovation but it can be disastrous if not handled properly. What some people don’t realize is that some of these walls are structurally important to their house. They bear the weight, keeping your house standing. Before taking down any walls it’s always important to have a professional in to inspect the walls so that you know you aren’t compromising the structure of your house. If one of the walls you want to go does happen to be weight-bearing there are ways around having to keep the wall there. A professional can help you navigate these murky waters.

2. Cabinetry

Classy cabinetry can make any home look like a million bucks. If a kitchen sports some stunning storage doors, then there’s no telling what other intricate interior beauties can be found throughout the house. Because cabinets are a key factor in defining a kitchen’s character, it’s vital to choose the right style for your space.

Kitchen cabinetry can seem relatively superficial in comparison to the structural components of a building, but because kitchen cabinets take up well over a quarter of a kitchen remodel budget, it is imperative that architects and interior designers do their research before specifying this element. Arguably the most important part of picking out cabinetry — even more than style and functionality — is choosing the right material.

3. Hazardous Materials

Building regulations have come a long way in the last few decades. It’s common to find things buried in your walls that aren’t even allowed to be used in the building of houses today. It’s not uncommon to find materials made of asbestos, to find lead pipes, and even old electrical wiring that is now known to be hazardous, as it’s prone to fire. You may even find poorly sealed areas that allowed for the growth of mold within your walls.

4. Dated or DIY patchwork

If your house is older it may have already seen a renovation or two in the time before you owned it. DIY isn’t a new phenomenon. People have been trying to do things on their own forever and renovations are no exception. When you tear into the walls you may find questionable handy-work. While these things may just turn out to be a minor annoyance, you might find more serious issues. If they added electrical lines, you may find them shoddily added on, making them a fire hazard. They may even be incompatible with the rest of the electrical grid in your house.

5. Out-Dated Materials

As already stated, a lot has changed in the last few decades. Electrical boxes didn’t need to keep up with the same amount of electrical output 50 years ago that modern houses do. Old plumbing may not be up to par with the way people live today. These can be costly but important fixes, especially when renovating your kitchen.

6. Accidents During Renovation (Bonus Tip)

With so much going on, this can be more common than you think. Especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Granite can crack. A foot can find its way through a cabinet waiting to be hung up. The wrong paint can go on the wrong surface. Mistakes are one of the biggest stressors when renovating any room, especially a project as big as your kitchen. Thankfully, when working with a contractor they have insurance to cover any costly mistakes and will fix any mess up on their part, likely without you even needing to know there was a problem in the first place. If you’re working on your own, a few mistakes can easily start adding up into a startling figure.

There’s a lot that can go wrong during a kitchen renovation. All you can do is keep a cool head and keep pushing forward. While you’re in the midst of the storm if may feel like you’ll never get out with your sanity in tact but the end result is usually worth the pain and frustration. The best thing you can do for your own your sake is to hire a professional to do the work so that you have someone to help you navigate the rough waters of a kitchen renovation. It’s the best way to ensure that even through the ups and downs, you get your dream kitchen in the end.