Last Updated Feb 9, 2018 · Written by Craig Gibson
Renovations are notoriously tough on relationships, especially if you are tackling a particularly ambitious job that involves tradies tramping through your most intimate spaces for weeks or even months on end.
The harsh reality is that renovating is not all roses - and even a meticulously planned project can put a rock-solid partnership on the rocks. You just need to turn on your TV to see tempers flare, budgets skyrocket and relationships fray on shows like The Block and House Rules. In fact, in a recent survey, we found 71% of Australian couples experience tension when it comes to home renos.
Well think about it, a reno has all the ingredients for a royal rumble, with money, ego, pride, and personal taste all in the mix. The short of it is that there is a lot to juggle for any couple. You have to stick to your budget, schedule all the tradies and works to happen on time, and agree on any number of critical decisions. And with money already a leading cause of stress in relationships, all you need is a budget blowout or extended delay to ramp the pressure up. Your dream of a kitchen brimming with luxury appliances may have to be put aside if your better half is to get his/her solid timber flooring - or vice versa. So be prepared to compromise, and have all those important conversations - yes, comms is key - well in advance of any works commencing.
You can also look to these tips to help keep your relationship rock steady.
Without a plan you are really setting yourself up for failure, and that includes your relationship. You both need to agree on what you are doing and how much you are going to spend. Look to create a realistic, itemised budget with some added wiggle room or contingency. On smaller projects add 5 to 10 percent to your total budget, while 10 to 20 percent should cover for larger jobs.
Sourcing quotes from three or four tradies, especially for bigger jobs, will give you a better idea of what the average cost and scope of work. You can then discuss each with your partner and make a decision that both of you agree on.
DIY may sound like a great way to help you save on your reno, but it can also end up a complete disaster - for your project and your relationship. More often than not it makes more sense to call the pros in. They have all the training and tools to make your job happen to spec. And it’s not hard to source a quality tradie these days, with online platforms doing all the heavy lifting when it comes to weeding out the shonky operators. Your relationship will thank you for it.
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If you’re stuck and can’t agree with your partner on an aspect of your home reno, get a tradie in for a site inspection and some professional advice. Their experienced eye and insights may all you need to break your deadlock. You can then (hopefully) move on without any hard feelings.
The easiest way of putting a strain on your relationship is taking on too much. Look to start your reno with a small job and see how you work together. If you are taking on a larger more complex job, schedule the works so there is time for each set of tradies to do their thing before the next crew move in. There are even people who can take care of this for you - people like builders and architects routinely project manage a job, and are likely to do a better job than you and your partner put together.
When works start your tradies need to know exactly what is expected of them, which means you both need to be on the same page. So sit down with your partner and agree in advance all the detail of your job. It’s very important not to give your tradies mixed messages and instructions, so they can get your job done on time and on budget.
Make sure you set aside space where you can retreat to and escape the mayhem. Ideally, this will be your bedroom, where you can shut the door and forget about it all. If you are planning a larger overhaul of your home consider practicalities like alternative accommodation. It may only be a few nights in a hotel, but just think what no running water in the middle of winter could do to your relationship.
Another top tip to keep everyone smiling is to schedule time away from the rigours of the reno. This is especially true for a major extension or a whole house reno. It could be a quick trip to the park or local beach, or even a weekend away - just to remind you both that there is life away from it all.
The good news is that if your relationship can survive a reno, it can probably survive anything!