You Need To Know These 10 Things When Renovating Your Home

Before you begin renovating your home, you need to know that it can be a big job and if you don’t know what you’re doing, things can go from bad to worse, very quickly. There are many sad cases of home renovations not going as planned – often going way over budget or schedule, or unforseen complications popping up unexpectedly and ruining even up to years of work. Most of these situations would never have gone so awry with some careful planning and early decision making sooner in the renovation process. Below are a few issues that it is vital to think about before you begin your home renovation.

This is why you need a general contractor if you want to do any work on your Toronto home. Being a general contractor is about thinking “big picture” and being able to visualize the finished product and how it’s put together by a set of plans.


10 Things to Think About BEFORE Starting Your Renovation

  • Prepare a budget
  • Be aware of council regulations and city guidelines
  • Find a general contractor
  • Know your start and completion dates
  • Selecting Products
  • Prepare Plans
  • Purchasing Products
  • What should I purchase myself?
  • What services are available to my property?
  • What sort of hot water unit do I need?

Prepare a budget

Prior to shopping for your new bathroom or kitchen you must know your spending limits. Whether you are getting a loan or paying cash, you need to work out how much your project is going to cost. Some businesses also offer finance solutions for approved customers.

Be aware of council regulations and city guidelines

Find out all the information you can before you arrange a general contractor. If your home is heritage listed you will need to meet strict council regulations. Cities like Toronto require homeowners to apply for permits, however there are many renovations that may require council approval. Contact your local council for more details.

Finding a General Contractor

Speak with family and friends who have done renovations or built a home. It is important to find a general contractor that you can communicate with. Make sure you understand everything they are telling you. Book a general contractor well ahead of time, as they can be booked for months in advance. Ensure that your general contractor is licensed. Your product warranties are only valid if installed by a licensed general contractor. In Canada, Trusted Pros and Homestars provide professional, reliable tradespeople for most jobs, and most workmanship is guaranteed. Know your start and completion dates.

Communicate with your general contractor and come to an agreement of realistic start and completion dates for your project. If you have a specific date that the job must be finished by, for example you have relatives coming to stay, let your general contractor know. Keep in mind that unexpected problems can hold up your project, no matter how well you have planned it.

Selecting Products

It may take a few shopping trips for you to decide on the products that give you the look you desire and are also practical for your needs. Browse through a print or online catalogue. Once you have decided on a style (modern, heritage or easy living) this will narrow down your product choices. Be aware of any size restrictions of the room. Print out or write down product specifications and measure up your bathroom, kitchen and other rooms. You may use the online planner at the IKEA website to layout the products you have chosen.

Talk to your general contractor about your choices. If the general contractor tells you that a product you have chosen is unsuitable, find out why. It may just be that extra work is required that they don’t want to do, it may push out the end date, or cost extra. Remember, to keep an additional 10% for overages. After all, it is your home and you need to be satisfied once the job is complete.


Prepare plans

It is important that you draw up plans of your bathroom or kitchen. Discuss the plans with your general contractor. Let him know what sort of products you would like, so he will know what work needs to be done. For example if you have chosen an in-wall cistern, theĀ general contractor will need to know so he can set up the plumbing correctly before the tiling is done. It is best to have specifications of all of the products you have chosen so the general contractor knows exactly what work is required.

Purchasing products

When selecting products, find out how long it will take for delivery. Some goods such as tapware and toilets will be in stock, while others such as spas and vanity units are custom made and can take up to 1 month to order in. Often these custom made products are non-refundable so confirm your product choices with your general contractor before ordering. Find out from your general contractor which products they will required first. Generally, the first products needed are the shower base, bath or spa and mixers if they are being installed on the wall.

As an owner builder, what should I purchase myself?

If you are owner building, make sure you purchase all of the main products for your bathroom, kitchen and laundry. This will ensure that you make all of the decisions and achieve the result you want. There will be things you will not think about when placing an order, such as different handle types on a vanity unit, the pump position of your spa, that you will need to decide on. It is important to make these decisions yourself as they will affect the overall result of your project. Smaller fittings for plumbing can be purchased by your general contractor.

What services are available to my property?

It is important to know whether you need gas or electric appliances (hot water unit, cooking appliances). If you currently have electric appliances and you want to change to gas, speak with your general contractor to determine if this is going to be cost effective and worthwhile in the long run. If you are building a new home, decide on the appliances you want before building begins, as the plumbing will need to be roughed in based on your product selection.

What sort of Hot Water Unit do I need?

There is a wide range of hot water units available and it can be quite daunting to try and choose one. If you are replacing an existing unit your choices can be limited, so speak with your general contractor. The instantaneous hot water units are popular at the moment, but they use a larger gas line than the standard storage units. This can mean major plumbing changes which can be quite costly, though in the long run the instantaneous systems are cost efficient.

Now That You Know What To Do Before Renovating Your Home

Many of these points seem somewhat obvious, but the problem arises when you start taking things for granted. When you don’t make sure that all your bases are covered, you may find that you have invested a lot of time, effort and money in a home renovation that you may end up unhappy with.