We get a lot of questions about home renovation, and we’re always happy to answer. It’s important to us at Gateway Kitchen + Bath to be honest and transparent, and share our knowledge and decades experience so you have everything you need to confidently make informed decisions before you start a renovation project. We pulled together a list of some of our most common Renovation FAQ with our answers. Hope they can help!
How long does a kitchen renovation take?
This is probably one of our most common questions, and as with any custom renovation project, the answer can vary. What we’ve found is that what most people are asking is “how long will you be in my house?” For the average kitchen renovation, we are physically present and working in your house for about 4-8 weeks, depending on the complexity of your project.
How much does a custom renovation cost?
Probably more than you think it will. This is another very common renovation FAQ we get, and because of the nature of custom work, it’s generally a difficult one to answer without more information. There are dozens of variables that can factor into the cost of a major renovation, but one currently deserves special attention: Material costs have undergone a marked increase in the past few years. There is no single industry that hasn’t seen higher costs, and because renovations are a combination of multiple trades and industries working together, it stands to reason the final costs will be higher too. We do everything we can to respect your planned budget, and when that’s not possible, openly discuss options. For more information on what goes into our costs, we have a more in-depth analysis here.
How do I choose a contractor for my renovation project?
Of course, we have to answer this one with “just come see us” to make the marketing department happy, but we get it. There are lot of options available and it can be difficult to know who to trust with something as expensive, disruptive and intimate as renovating your home. We’ve seen a lot of renovation companies come and go in our time, so we know what to look for. Beyond the basics of getting a written contract, asking about their insurance, meeting face to face, and being leery of large deposits, we’ve got some suggestions to make the process easier.
Firstly, ask around. You probably know at least a few people who have had renovations done. Get all their stories, the good, the bad and the ugly parts of their experience. Look at their spaces if possible to get an idea of materials and quality. If your friends and family had a good experience and are happy with their space, chances are your experience will be similar. Second, please don’t choose a renovator who doesn’t have a physical location. It sounds crazy, but there are renovators out there who seem to exist only on a Kijiji ad. It’s too easy for a renovator you can’t visit to disappear, and if you’re mid-project and they have a large amount of your money, that’s a problem. Third, find someone who guarantees their work. Without a warranty of any kind, shoddy work is your problem to deal with, and you have little recourse.
I got other quotes, why is yours higher?
We didn’t get into the renovation business to rip people off, and we certainly hope that any contractor who did wouldn’t last more than 40 years in the business. Our goal at Gateway is to do the job correctly and build something that will last. We’ve been doing this a long time and when we design a space with you, we focus on quality materials, finishes that will be both durable and beautiful, cabinetry that is sturdy enough to stand the test of time, and superior craftsmanship and customer service. Yes, there are cheaper materials and many ways to cut costs (including, unfortunately, just not disclosing them to the customer before the contract is signed), but we want you to have the best. We also want you to be fully informed about every cost involved before your project starts.
What part of my home renovation should I tackle first?
If you’ve got a number of projects that need to be done, it’s important to complete them in the right order. While it’s fun to dream about how your home looks or that beautiful new kitchen, the first reno projects that you should focus on are the ones that, if not done, can deteriorate or cause damage in your home. These include projects like a leaky roof, structural/foundation issues, mould, insulation, or faulty plumbing and wiring. Never choose a design project until you’ve addressed all the ticking time bombs. Once you are satisfied with the structure and function of your home, then it’s time to move on to form. At that point the choice falls with what you can afford to complete and what will make the biggest impact in your home. (You may need to weigh both of those questions against each other because they often don’t come up with the same answer).
Will there be delays in my renovation project?
Short answer: Probably. For some perspective, we don’t plan delays into our projects and we work hard to mitigate them whenever possible, but our experience tells us to factor it in. Delays can be caused by a number of different things, and many of them are out of our control. From unexpected surprises in your home that you didn’t know about (think plumbing or electrical issues that aren’t evident until we open the walls), to discontinued products we need to re-source, or even mass supply chain issues like we saw in the last few years—there are lots of things that can derail a timeline. If you’re working with a renovator who claims they don’t have delays, we’d advise caution. Delays are an unwanted but normal part of the renovation process. An experienced contractor will be able to identify little ones before they become big ones and keep the schedule on track.
Do I need a permit for my renovation?
Most likely. Between building permits and separate trade permits (plumbing, electrical, etc) the chances are good that you’ll need at least one if you’re planning a major renovation. The good news is, we handle all of that for you so you don’t need to worry about it. We’ll ensure appropriate permits are pulled and inspections happen to keep your project in compliance.
What time do you start working in the morning?
We work with lots of different tradespeople, and each one has their own preference, but if you have someone coming first thing in the morning, generally you can expect a start time between 8-8:30am. All work times scheduled in your home will be regularly updated on your live calendar, so check that often. If you have a schedule preference, or times we need to work around, let us know. The more information we have about what works best for you, the better.
How do I keep dust out of other areas of my home?
Short (and honest) answer: you can’t. Drywall dust is impossible to contain entirely, and if you’re renovating any part of your home, there will be dust. That said, there are steps you can take to make it a bit easier to manage. During demolition and any drywall work, drape plastic over furniture and electronics. If possible, turn off any electronics that have a cooling fan if you don’t need them, as dust can get sucked inside. Put away any clutter (even pictures on the walls) that can be difficult to dust around so you can easily wipe flat surfaces when needed. All of these steps can help, but be aware that no matter what you do, your entire home will need a deep clean once we’re done (possibly including the furnace ducts if you’re renovating during a heating or cooling season). We aim to keep our work areas as clean as possible, but drywall dust stays in the air until long after we’ve cleaned up and gone, so the following days will be dusty.
Why does a bathroom renovation cost so much when it’s such a small space?
Second only to the kitchen, the bathroom is one of the most complex rooms in your house, and by square footage is the most expensive to renovate. There is a lot going on in a small space, including specialized plumbing, multiple fixtures, specialized electrical, waterproofing, tile and more. All those pieces add up quickly. Another cost that is often overlooked: Trade minimums. A bathroom is a small space, so depending how much work needs to be done the cost of getting a tradesperson to your home may be bumped up to their minimum rate. Multiply that minimum charge by a few tradespeople and your costs are going up.
Is it possible to renovate my home with small children?
Our answer to this question is a “yes, but.” It’s entirely possible to renovate with small children at home, but there’s some extra planning you’ll need to do to make it easier on yourself. Safety is always a concern for us. With tools, large materials and fixtures moving around in your house, it’s important to keep small children out of traffic areas for their safety and the safety of our tradespeople. Another concern can be noise and disruption. Naps will be difficult in a renovation zone, and if you follow a strict schedule or routine, it will be interrupted. Plan for a lot of time outside of the home, make use of babysitting/daycare, and do your best to keep your own stresses in check to ensure your kids are safe and happy.
Do you reface existing cabinets?
As a general rule, we don’t, and while we understand the need/desire to keep costs lower, we don’t actually recommend it. Cabinet doors/finishes and hardware are some of the most expensive parts of your cabinetry, and the labour costs involved with refacing are higher so there’s not actually much of a cost savings. Also, depending on the original cabinets, it’s not always possible to change the outsides well enough for it to stay beautiful and durable for you. There are often issues below the surface that aren’t addressed with refacing, and you may end up dissatisfied with the finished product. We’d recommend delaying a kitchen makeover if needed and build new when you can.
Can you colour-match my existing cabinetry?
Most of the time, we absolutely can! At Gateway we have our own paint booth, and do all our finishing in-house. Because of this, and relationships with our local paint and stain experts, we can confidently colour match at least 95% of existing cabinetry. Remember that your choice of wood can affect how a stain looks, so if you would like something matched, it’s best to go with a wood that coordinates as well.
I have a very specific idea for the cabinetry in my home, can you build it?
We can! The nature of custom cabinetry and the talented people we have on our design, engineering and build teams mean that if you can show it to us, we can most likely build it. While we do offer certain door profiles, cabinet sizes, and finish colours, we love to stretch our abilities and do something unique. Bring us your ideas, and let’s see what we can build together.
We hope the answers to our Renovation FAQ were a help to you as you research for your upcoming project. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us and ask.