Deciding to renovate your home is a big decision and can be an expensive one depending on the type of renovation to be done. As with many walks of life, home renovations can generally be divided into those that we need, and those that we want. In life, we need air to breathe, but we want chocolate gâteau to eat. Sure, we could choose the chocolate gâteau in favour of the air, but we’ll soon start to regret it. And so, it goes, albeit on a less life-critical scale, for home renovations.
Prior to renovating, it is important to assess your home properly or have a qualified professional do this for you. You will be looking for any major underlying problems with your home that need to be addressed prior to or during your planned renovation project. This will help eliminate any additional costs and surprises that may arise when renovating your home.
Some reasons that people decide to undergo home renovations are:
* Upgrade or improve outdated or deteriorated materials
* Replacing windows, the outdated furnace, and old flooring and siding are common home improvements. Maintain and repair various weather-beaten building materials
* New roofing shingles, fixing a cracking foundation and repairing a driveway are all typical weather-beaten materials that can be repaired with a renovation. Address your lifestyle wants and needs
* Converting an unused attic space into a new living space, building a sunroom, and adding a home office are all common home renovations that can increase your current living spaces.
Getting home renovation ideas and assessing your home with a thorough home inspection will help you to assess the condition of your home. The best place to start your inspection is the basement. Many of your home’s problems start in the basement and it can be a good indicator of problems that originate in other areas of your home.
If you have decided to make some renovations to your home or investment property there are a few steps I would suggest, even prior to calling a contractor:
Firstly, renovations have a way of getting out of control once they have started, so it is imperative that you layout the scope of the work to be completed. If a bathroom renovation is your plan, ensure you list all areas that are to affect – new toilet and wall tiles or a complete over-hall including: plumbing, fixtures, lighting, cabinets, tub and flooring.
Just a quick note based on my experience; once one area of a room has been newly renovated it will make the other areas appear more “tired” than they had previously looked. Consider doing as much renovation in one room as your budget will allow. This approach will be less expensive and less time-consuming than having to return to re-renovate the same room several times.
Take the time to create a drawing of your new floor plan. This does not have to be a professional illustration, just a sketch showing your basic ideas. For example, if you are finishing your basement, show the location of interior walls, appliances, fireplaces, lighting, bar, shelving or furniture built-ins, bathrooms and closets.
If you have decided to include a bathroom, kitchenette or wet bar consider the location of the plumbing rough-ins. It can be very time-consuming and expensive if you decide to put your toilet across the room from where the builder has placed the sewer access.
This floor plan may take a little time; however, it will make things easier when it’s time to explain to your contractors what your plan is.
You must set a budget and try to work within it. I have heard the old phrase “money is no object” a few times in my 25 years in the renovation business, however, nine times out of ten; it is an object – and a big object.
Only you can decide what budget you are comfortable with. Having said that, after speaking to several contractors you may find that what you want and what your budget allows for, are miles apart. So, your budget may not be flexible, but your plans will need to be flexible.
Set Time Frame
The time frame, in some people’s opinion, is the most important aspect. When setting a time frame for your renovation work to be completed, keep in mind that unless you are hiring one of the T.V. renovation teams that could build the Taj Mahal in 3 days with a crew of 500 workers; you may have to be a little more realistic.
After you meet with several contractors be sure to ask each of them how long they think the job should take and when they would have the time to focus on your project. It is my experience you should increase this estimate by 30%.
If this is a large renovation it may be necessary to make living arrangements elsewhere. Regardless, you should still ensure the contractors are given exclusive use of the area and services that they will need. There is nothing more frustrating than a plumber trying to install a new kitchen sink while you are making your family breakfast. Give the professionals room to work.
Now that you have a defined the scope, sketched a floor plan and set a budget, it is now time to get a few estimates. I recommend that you avoid uninsured renovation companies for obvious reasons. There are many reputable renovation companies out there and there are many ways to find them, today the most popular ways are: internet web sites, yellow pages, trade magazines and of course personal referrals/word of mouth.
When meeting with a renovator be sure to show them your drawing of the floor plan and discuss in detail what you want done, do a walk through with the renovator of the area to be renovated and don’t forget to ask about the time frame. I would suggest that you not mention your budget at this time. You should first get yourself 3 estimates.
For all your home renovation, addition or building needs, turn to the professionals at CASS-A-BELLA CONSTRUCTION in Toronto, ON.