Steps to Keep Your Next Reno on Time and on Budget, According to Pros
So you’re finally taking the plunge on that remodel you’ve been thinking about for so long. It’s exciting to think about the transformations that are about to happen in your home—a new kitchen island! A shower you can turn around in!—and also a little daunting. (You’ve heard stories about projects that take months instead of weeks, crush the budget, or drive the homeowners into couple’s therapy.) But good news: You can avoid many of these worst-case scenarios with careful and realistic advance planning. Here’s what to do before you renovate.
Know what you want (and need)
Start big—huge, even!—with a list of everything you’ve always wanted in the space. Include the fun stuff, like bold wallpaper in the entry hall or a soaking tub in the bathroom, but consider which “wants” you’d be willing to give up if budget push came to budget shove.
And be practical: Spend as much time thinking about function and efficiency as you do style; if you don’t, you won’t like using the new space, no matter how good it looks. It helps to get specific about all the products you’d like to include, and to look up their prices—that way, you have a sense of which you can really afford and which should go on the “maybe” list.
Run the numbers
Figure out how much you can really afford to spend on the project—then subtract 10 to 15 percent for a contingency fund. If you’re lucky, you won’t use all of this slush. But you probably will. “There are unknowns in every job,” says
Assemble the right pros
If you’re just doing a cosmetic update—for example, replacing kitchen cabinets and appliances, but not changing the positions of plumbing or appliances or moving any walls—you probably only need a general contractor, or GC, who will usually hire subcontractors like plumbers, electricians, and the like. But if you’re reconfiguring the layout, moving structural walls, or changing electrical or plumbing positions, you’ll need an architect, too. And if you want help in getting the most efficient kitchen or bath layout or a high-end design look, you might appreciate the help of a kitchen or bath designer or an interior designer.
A Comprehensive Checklist for Home Renovation
When you’re planning on investing money to refurbish your house, it can seem a daunting task if you’re not sure where to start. With so many aspects that can be improved, it’s easier if you use a renovating a house checklist to give you some ideas, rather than setting off without a plan of action. This is the best way of spending money smartly, as there may be aspects of the work that you don’t even consider until you sit down and think about it. Save time and money by knowing what to do first when renovating a house.
A good place to start is often the exterior to make sure your house is in a state of good repair. This should be high on your house renovation order of works – there’s no point in making aesthetic changes to the interior if structural work needs doing outside
Take into consideration:
1. Have a professional inspect your roof, including the gutters, flashing and downspouts. If your roof has been in place for 20 years or more, it may be reaching the end of its lifespan. An expert can identify whether it requires repairs or replacement.
2. Have your attic inspected too. Find out whether you have adequate loft insulation. You can save money on energy bills by having your loft properly insulated, rather than letting heat escape through the roof.
3. Inspect your exterior paintwork and if any is peeling away, make sure you buy new paint that is durable and weatherproof.
4. Examine your windows and doors. If your house has old, single pane windows, consider replacing them with double or triple glazing to boost energy efficiency. Check whether the frames are looking shabby and whether your doors require refurbishing. A fresh coat of paint can make all the difference.
5. Does your garden need a makeover? If you’re looking to add value to your house, having a well-kept garden can make all the difference. After all, it’s the first impression visitors have as they approach. Employ the services of a professional gardener to cut back an overgrown garden and then carry out regular maintenance.
During the home renovation process, you may decide you need more space in general. Older houses tend to have segmented rooms, while the modern trend is for an open layout
Work out the most cost-effective means of increasing your space:
1. If you’re considering removing some walls to connect different rooms and expand some areas, this can be costly, as structural work requires consultation with a professional and layout changes may require a foundation upgrade. Bear this in mind before proceeding.
2. Converting and furnishing your attic or basement can be a more cost-effective way of increasing your space, rather than making drastic layout changes.
3. Many people consider building an extension, such as a conservatory or ground-floor extension to open up their kitchen, for example. This is a great way to renovate your home, but remember that planning permission is needed for certain types of extension.
Renovation Rundown: What Are the Steps in a Home Renovation?
While not every home renovation works in the exact same order, you may want to follow a certain course to help avoid unnecessary work. For example, you don’t want to close walls and paint, only to realize you need to add a new plumbing stack that requires going behind the wall again
Make a Plan
Assess what you’d like to renovate and set priorities, says Houzz. That includes deciding where to start, and making sure you have the time and budget needed to get the work done.
Set a Budget
Come up with a final number on how much you want to comfortably spend on the renovation, says Better Homes and Gardens. It may be a good idea to check out Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report to see how much average projects cost. Consider budgeting an extra 10 to 20 percent for unexpected costs that may arise
Talk to Your Insurance Agent
It may be a good idea to contact your insurance agent to help make sure you’re comfortable with the amount of coverage you have in place for your renovation project. Once the upgrade is complete, you may also want to consider evaluating your coverage again so you can make sure it fits your needs.
Hire a Contractor
Research and select a contractor with whom you feel comfortable, says Zillow. Be sure to sign contracts that help define the scope of work and the process to potentially avoid or resolve any problems
DIY home renovations for the thrifty homeowner
Whether you’re preparing to sell your home or staying put and craving a refresh, you may be concerned about how renovations can impact your budget.
Clean your vinyl siding
Vinyl siding can keep your house looking new for years, but it can start to look dingy after a while. “Sometimes the solution to a problem is the simplest and least expensive,” they say. “Cleaning vinyl house siding can be accomplished with nothing more than a long-handled scrub brush, good-quality cleaner, a garden hose, and a little elbow grease.” They recommend this handwashing approach over using a power washer, which can damage the siding.
Repaint the front door and update exterior accents
Whether your exterior has siding, paint, shingles, or stone, updating your front door can boost the curb appeal of your home. suggests that you “choose a bold accent color that works well with the rest of the exterior, but also stands out from it, to give the door a bit of a spotlight.” For an even easier project, “change out your house numbers and possibly your mailbox,” he says, “and voila, you have a whole new look and feel when you’re entering your house.”
Apply removable wallpaper
Updated walls can easily improve your space, but the very word “wallpaper” might make you cringe, especially if you’ve attempted installing wallpaper yourself in the past. “Removable wallpaper is a stylish and affordable way to update your space with minimal investment. Moreover, it’s a really easy way to add color or pattern to your space with little commitment.”
Paint your walls
If you prefer a painted surface to wallpaper, you may be surprised by how easy it is to paint a room yourself. The caveat is that you do have to take your time for quality results, especially with project setup
Things Missed on a Home Renovation
Homes for sale often love to say “recently updated” “newly renovated” or “like new” or similar language. And while some houses may live up to such claims, many fall short. With the popularity of flipping homes, as seen on such TV shows as “Fip or Flop”, “Flip this House” “My First Flip” many people think they can flip a home. However, many do not always realize the scope of work involved and forget many important items. This is why having a home inspection done on a recently renovated or flipped home is a must.
Most people do not spend much time looking at the roof of a home. Few ever get up on a roof, and one should not get on a roof unless they know what they are doing. As such, when planning a renovation or flip, the roof is often left out. And even when the roof is worked on, it’s often done poorly. I recall one episode of “Flip or Flop” where they sprayed water on the roof to see if it leaked, and then decided that was good enough. But an active leak is not a symptom of a failing roof, it’s a sign that roof has already failed.
I can not count how many times I have inspected a house that has all new cabinets, new counters, new flooring, new paint, but still has the original 1940’s era electrical panel. Now a panel being old into itself is not necessarily an issue, but many times they have issues, such as rust, improper wiring, brittle wiring, or other issues that should be addressed
The standards for kitchen outlets has changed dramatically over the years. Since the late 80’s, kitchens outlets near the sink have been required to have ground-fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI, protection, which turns off the electricity and prevents shocks if the outlet detects contact with water. Later, the rules were changed to have GFCI around the entire kitchen counter. Then in the early 2000’s, it was determined that all around a kitchen counter should have outlets that no point was ever more than 2 feet from an outlet. Obviously, older homes were built before such standards. But when a kitchen is remodeled and advertised as “updated” or “like new” then it should be brought up to current standards. New countertops do not help you prepare a good meal if you do not have the outlets to go with them.
I see two common issues with kitchen venting. One is a corrugated vent pipe is installed, which can easily clog with food particles, and can become a fire hazard. The other common problem is the fan inside the vent is installed backward, so instead of blowing out the vent pipe, it blows right back into the face of the person cooking. Other problems include a vent pipe that is disconnected in the attic or connected to an older pipe that directs grease back down onto the kitchen ceiling.