Here are 5 things to know when planning a renovation. Large renovations can be stressful if you’ve never been through it before. The planning phase is important because it can help to ensure the success of your project. Below are the things to consider that will help improve your renovation experience before and after construction begins!
If you are thinking about renovating, check out our process. We are happy to help!
Where Are You Starting and Stopping?
Before you start your renovation, you need to decide where to start and where to stop. If you’re not renovating the entire floor, having a hard stop line is important. This could be a particular door, room or flooring transition. It could also be a phase of construction (ex. Doing all the flooring and trim but NOT doors and paint).
A perfect example is if you want to renovate your kitchen and open it up (very common). By removing walls and creating an open concept, that means that you’re affecting your flooring, ceilings, walls, electrical, etc. A decision like this can easily expand the project’s scope of work and escalate your “kitchen renovation”. So keep in mind where your “stopping point” is before you meet with a contractor.
Be Clear on the Scope of Work
Once you meet with a contractor, it’s important to be 100% clear about what will be included and what won’t. Make sure the estimate or quote you receive is clear about the work that will be done. Don’t make any assumptions. If you talk about something but it’s not on the quote, don’t assume it’s included just because you discussed it. Having everyone on the same page will avoid any unnecessary costs and tension. This will also allow construction to flow smoothly!
Expect Additional Costs
This is may be odd to say, but it’s common for people to EXPECT surprise costs throughout a renovation. Although this is a reality, the costs should be minimal. While there are always exceptions, most large costs should be able to be anticipated ahead of time.
In old houses especially, there is always a potential for surprises. Ideally those potentials are at least discussed ahead of time so that you can be prepared. For example, in Saskatoon any home built prior to 1950 comes with the risk of a poor foundation. A home built before the 1990’s, comes with the possibility that vermiculite was used and may need remediation. These things can be dealt with, but they could be an added cost that you need to be aware of. Having these types of conversations up front, can reduce major surprise costs and stress.
That being said, sometimes things come up that can’t be foreseen or that were simply missed. These are often smaller expenses but can of course add up throughout a renovation. It is best to expect a handful of smaller items to come up. Set aside a contingency to cover these smaller items, and will make it less stressful when they do come up.
Often, homeowners will live through their renovation in the home. I don’t advise it, as it can be stressful for the homeowner and workers. But if you do decide to take this route, obeying these three rules will help things align expectations!
- It will be messier than you think. It always surprises me how dust travels around a house. Even when rooms are closed off, sealed, etc., dust always seems to travel. Expect to have to live through that. Workers should be cleaning up after themselves and keeping the site clean, but dust will be part of the gig!
- Be flexible with workers. Not all schedules go according to plans, but often workers will do what they can to catch up. Sometimes that means working evenings or weekends to make up time. Being open and flexible to this helps keep the project on track!
- Be flexible with timelines. Just as flexibility with workers is important, so is flexibility with timelines. Sometimes things simply take longer than they are expected, and this may mean the completion date gets pushed back. But if you come in with a laid back mindset, it will help with your entire experience as schedules change.
Be Ready to Make Quick Decisions
As we mentioned, expect for some smaller surprises to come up throughout the renovation. Realistically, most of these happen in the beginning phases, but a lot of these surprises require decisions to move forward. The more prepared you are for surprises, the quicker you can make decisions and avoid delays!
BONUS: 5 Things We Have Ran Into That Could Affect Your Reno
- Unlevel Floors: with the uptake of floating floors, level floors are vital to proper install and to maintaining warranty. Older houses are notorious for unlevel floors. The costs to remediate the problem can be anywhere from minimal to extreme. It all depends on the severity and the root problem.
- Unexpected Ducting: one of the reasons walls can be expensive to remove is when ducting needs to be rerouted. If no ducting is expected and then gets uncovered, this can greatly impact the cost of removing a wall!
- Foundation Problems: this can be minor or very dramatic. I would recommend doing what you can to uncover your foundation to assess the lifespan before doing any major renovation. Uncovering major problems during the reno, adds a lot of unnecessary stress and narrows your options moving forward.
- Structural Work to Remove Walls: removing walls can often mean structural work in the basement. Increasing pad sizes, upsizing beams, or even adding footings may be something that needs to happen. Make sure this doesn’t catch you by surprise!
- Not Having Floor Plans: floor plans can save a lot of surprises. Understanding exactly how the house was built behind the walls answers a lot of questions. Often they aren’t available, but construction drawings remove a lot of the guesswork and help avoid some of these surprises.
Thinking of renovating in Saskatoon? Contact us, we would love to hear about your projects and plans. We can set up an initial consultation and talk through any potential hurdles to overcome!