What Does a Renovation Cost?The factors involved to estimate + set a budget.
How much does a renovation cost?
Be honest. You were a little nervous clicking on this page, weren’t you?
It’s the big question everyone has before starting a major renovation. “What does a renovation cost?”
Now it’s our turn to be honest. Our answer to the question is “it depends”.
There are SO MANY factors that can change the renovation cost of your project, so it’s next to impossible to even give ranges… but what we CAN do, is give you a really good idea of what those factors are so you can take a look at your home, take a look at your budget and that list of “wants” and get a better idea and help you calculate ad estimate where your renovation might land.
Labour costs take the largest chunk out of your renovation budget. Skilled trades don’t come cheap, and while the benefits of having a trained set of eyes on your project can speed up the process and save you money in the long run, it’s often a major cost. Tradespeople (plumbers, electricians, tilers, installers, drywall and patching pros, painters, etc) are efficient and can spot problems for you that you may not have known about. While many of the tasks they do can be tackled by a confident do-it-yourself type, this approach can make scheduling difficult, and you can run the risk of delaying your project and incurring extra costs if you end up not happy with your own work.
Major home renovations have dozens of moving parts that all need to run smoothly in order to be as efficient as possible and get your renovation completed within the budgeted timeline. At Gateway, we have an entire department dedicated to that task. Each renovation project has a schedule that is constantly shifting and updating as the renovation progresses, and our tradespeople follow the calendar and shift from job to job as needed. A delay in your project may mean the next steps can’t happen when they were supposed to, and the tradespeople waiting for their job may have to move to another project, delaying yours even more.
Some ways to reduce the labour costs of a renovation project:
Minimize your changes
This sounds silly since the whole point of your renovation is to make changes, but there’s some strategy involved. In the case of a dated kitchen, for example… while it might seem tempting to move all your appliances and fixtures to different places for a fresh new look, it might not be necessary. Take a good hard look at the flow of your kitchen and if the main function still works, it will drop your costs if you don’t need to move all the electrical and plumbing. This saves money or frees up some space in your budget for some of those special add-ins (under-cabinet lighting, home automation, extra outlets or light fixtures)
Be strategic and realistic about DIY
Mid-renovation is not the right time to learn new skills. That said, if you have skills, there’s no reason you can’t put them to use. You don’t need to pay someone to install that new big-screen TV or paint the walls if you’re confident doing it yourself, and that can save you money. Know your abilities, be honest and clear about them, and we can work with you to keep the budget tight.
Want to take out a wall? Bump your living room space out into the yard with an added sun-room? Maybe add a patio door or some bigger windows? All great ideas, but be prepared for the cost!
Making structural changes to a house can be expensive and sometimes tricky to complete. Know the bones of your home (If you’ve got original plans, even better!), like where your load-bearing walls are (the walls that hold up the load of the roof or additional levels) and take inventory of where the plumbing, HVAC and electrical services are located in your walls and floor. This pre-planning will minimize surprises and you’ll be able to get a pretty decent idea of how much it will cost to make the big change you’re looking for.
Be aware that when you make big changes like this there can be both big risks and big rewards. Depending on who has lived in your house before you and what changes they have made, it’s not uncommon to find issues you weren’t expecting. Always try to budget a bit of a slush fund if you’re planning on structural changes. That said, the rewards as far as the resale value of your home, and all the benefits of making your space exactly what you want can be HUGE.
SIZE AND COMPLEXITY
It almost goes without saying that the size and complexity of the space you’re renovating will have a big effect on the cost of the renovation, but it needed to be on the list. Even a small, simple kitchen renovation can be costly because it’s naturally the most complicated space, and the number of cabinets, fixtures and services are always high. Factor into your budget calculations what you are trying to change and how much of it there is. A large living room space doesn’t have appliances or complicated cabinetry, but you’ll need a lot of flooring to cover a large space. If you know what the main components are of your renovation, you’ll be able to figure out a budget that will work.
Bringing in accurate measurements and pictures when you schedule an appointment with us is extremely helpful in this area when we’re trying to establish the renovation costs. The more information we have… the better!
CUSTOM vs STOCK CABINETRY
It’s tempting to make everything custom, and it can definitely lead to spectacular results, but the cost of building custom cabinetry for every area can add up quickly. Take a good look at your space, and make a list of needs and wants, and let our designers put the pieces together. Because we build our cabinetry in-house, it’s not difficult to design your kitchen or bathroom with a mix of stock sizes and custom pieces to perfectly suit your space and how you plan to use it! (Read more about the different types of cabinetry in our blog post)
FINISHES + FIXTURES
This is an area in which you have a lot of control over your budget. There are finishes and fixtures for every budget imaginable, the trick is to not let your wants swallow your needs. It’s really easy to get swept up in all the beautiful additions there are on offer, but little cost increases here and there add up very quickly.
Be smart about choosing your tile, your flooring, your light fixtures etc. There’s no need to choose only the cheapest options (or the most expensive), instead make thoughtful choices and use your money where it will have the biggest impact. Our designers are great at finding options for any budget and can offer suggestions on ways to save if you need. If you love the look of marble countertops but aren’t loving the price tag or the maintenance, speak up! There are lots of quartz options available that can give you a similar look for a much lower cost, and are virtually maintenance-free!
Kitchens are one of the most expensive rooms to renovate and appliances are one of the renovation costs that can add up.
It’s also an area you can control.
If your budget allows for the best appliances, and you know you’re going to want that built-in double oven and that incredible fridge, go for it! Purchasing quality appliances makes for a more pleasurable and beautiful experience in your kitchen.
If your budget is tighter, be more strategic about what you’d like (and can afford) to spend on appliances, watch for deals, set a budget and stick to it.
OUR #1 TIP FOR DETERMINING RENOVATION COSTS:
Be honest with us about what you want to spend, but even more so, be honest with yourself! We don’t want you to bite off more than you can chew, and we have the experience to put all these factors together and know very quickly if your budget is feasible. We know it feels strange to start the process off by telling us what you’d like to spend, but it’s so important for our designers to have a baseline to start with. If we can get you what you want and come in under budget, we’re thrilled to be able to do that!
We hope this page helped you as you start making your renovation budget plan. We know it would probably be easier if we could just give you cold, hard numbers, but hopefully understanding all the factors that go into the cost of a renovation will clarify why it’s almost impossible. If you have any questions, please contact us! Our goal is to give you the most transparent service possible and use our experience to guide you through the whole process.
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