How do I remodel my whole house?
Home renovation is a huge project that can start off simple. You peel back a corner of carpeting on Saturday morning, and a lightbulb goes off in your head: Why not refinish these hardwood floors?
Six months later, that mere refinishing project has led to torn-down walls, pried up floorboards and decommissioned bedrooms. But the flip side of this is you end up with a gorgeous, refinished house for a fraction of the cost it would have cost to buy a new house.
A full-house renovation is quite a different matter. It doesn’t — or shouldn’t — begin with pulling up the carpet. It should begin with real-world realizations about the scale of this project and dedicated planning.
Consider these seven points before picking up that hammer or calling the contractor.
- Decide to Do It Yourself or Hire Professionals
You will either hire out the work to professionals, do it yourself or some combination of the two.
As this is a whole-house renovation, you likely will not be doing all of the work yourself. Even the most determined homeowner will have to call in professional tradesmen for projects like plumbing and electrical.
Professionals range from expensive contractors to sub-contractors and handymen you find through word-of-mouth or through classified ads. Since not all home renovation projects are created equally, you will want to consider on a case-by-case basis whether you are capable of taking on the home renovation project yourself or whether you wish to hire professionals.
It’s good to know, though, that one way to reduce costs in contractor-driven remodels is to take on some of the projects yourself. Contractors don’t especially like using subs other than their “own people.” But if that “other person” is you, and your piece doesn’t impact the remodel’s progress, he should be amenable (suggestion: save your piece for the last, such as painting the kitchen).
- Formulate a Plan for Funding Your Project
Your home remodeling project will cost you more than you care to know. So it’s best to come up with a range of funding options. Your choice of funding options may range from simple sweat equity on up to the traditional home equity loan.
- Consider the Resale Value
Today, the majority of American homeowners sell their house at least once. Gone are the days when homeowners rode out their 30-year mortgage to the end. Not only are you renovating your house for you, but also for future buyers.
- Become Comfortable With Managing Contractors and Work Crews
Notwithstanding your rock-solid decision to do it all yourself, you will inevitably find yourself hiring someone to help. You will need to know how to manage work crews.
- Develop Plan for Saving on Remodeling Costs
From designers’ fees, contractors’ commissions and The Home Depot credit cards: home remodeling seems designed to drain your piggy bank as fast as possible. But there are tried and true ways to save on home remodeling costs, on everything from kitchen to bathroom.
- Think Ahead to Permit and Zoning Issues
Building permits take notoriously long to get approved. Electrical permits and permits for demolition or fences may not take more than a few days, but large-scale projects involving zoning, like building a home addition, may take many weeks or months.
- Take Safety and Cleanliness Seriously
It’s good to consider things like lead-based paint before sanding down that 80-year-old hand-railing. Avoiding mess when painting your house interior is just as important as developing a plan for keeping out dust from clean areas of your house.
Get a Clear Vision
visualizing home remodel planLet’s clarify a few things first. It’s important to consider if you really want a whole house remodel because it’s not a small DIY project that you can simply abandon if you lose interest. Are you sure you can manage and oversee the remodeling process from start to finish? Is it something you consider worth investing in? These questions can help you decide whether to proceed or not.
Once you’ve decided to push through, start envisioning what you want for your home. The beauty of an entire house remodel is that you can create exactly the home you want, so it’s worthwhile investing the time and energy understanding precisely what is important to you and your family.
Hiring a Contractor
The most important step of any home renovation project is your choice of who to hire. It is critical you choose a contractor that meets your needs and understands your home renovation goals. Do not choose based on price. Experience and references are important factors in making your choice. By selecting the right contractor, your project has a higher chance of going more smoothly, have less headaches, and finish on time and within budget. So do not rush this decision and be sure to do your due diligence.
Resale Value of Whole House Renovations
There may be many different reasons to embark upon a whole house renovation. But the common question for all homeowners is what is the return on your renovation investment. Market conditions determine the ultimate answer, but there is data that you can tap to get an idea how renovating your home will increase its value. Look at similar projects in your area as well as homes of similar size and what they are currently selling for.
Budget is one of the most important factors in this decision. If you can afford to renovate your whole home at once, we will generally recommend it. While the initial cost is higher than renovating one room at a time, it is much cheaper in the long run.
The full-home renovations cost less in the long run because it is efficient. In addition to getting everything out of the way at once, it also means the overall labour costs will be lower. Every project requires set-up. Doing projects one room at a time means paying set up costs multiple times. For example, if you are having the floors done in the living room you will have to pay for the set-up costs when the labourers prep the floor. If you do the kitchen floor at a later date, you will again have to pay for someone to come in and prepare that floor. Having both floors set up at once would require one visit instead of two, thereby being more cost effective overall.
In the same vein, there are clean-up costs with any project. Doing all your projects at once means doing your clean up all at once. This means less labour hours and cleanup equipment only has to be brought in once. The same logic applies to garbage removal and dumpsters.
Tips to Maximize Your Whole-House Remodel
If a whole-house remodel or second-story addition is in your future, here’s are 10 tips to maximize your investment, increase the functionality of your home and make future work easier. Keeping them in mind when working with your architect or contractor could help lower your costs and stress during your next remodel.
Don’t add bathrooms without looking carefully at your water supply lines and the capacity of your water heater. A smaller tank or one with lengthy recovery times may not meet your needs. This is especially true if you select a new 80-gallon soaking tub and you have a 50-gallon tank. Consider a separate tankless or tank heater for your second story, or a larger tank with a recirculation pump that keeps hot water right at your taps. Also consider how large your street-side water supply lines are. If you add enough fixtures, the plumbing code may require you to upgrade to a larger supply line. And if you still have galvanized piping, this is probably the time to take it all out.
Get the right gas meter.
More gas appliances usually means a larger meter. Most utility providers will require you to add up the BTU (British thermal unit) requirements of your appliances (furnace, water heater, range, washer-dryer, barbecue, fireplace) and size your meter accordingly. Or maybe you’re adding that barbecue and fireplace in a few years? Sizing the meter larger now and running pipe where you will need it can save you money in the future.
Deaden the sound.
While your friends will not be able to admire all that pretty insulation in your walls, they will be relieved to not hear what’s going on in the powder room since you insulated all the walls with sound insulation. You can choose from Rockwool insulation, sound board or drywall specifically designed to deaden sound transmission through wall cavities. Using resilient channels in ceilings can also help stop sound transmission from one floor or room to another. You may also want sound insulation around your laundry room and media room and in shared bedroom walls.