As a homeowner, it is important to keep your property well-maintained and in good condition to protect home value.
For many Canadians, the home is the largest asset they own and protecting the value of this investment is critical. Studies show that a huge majority of Canadian homeowners undertake home improvement projects to improve appearance, function, and value each year.
If you are planning to renovate your home this year, it pays to know more about what you are getting into to ensure your money is well spent.
Below you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about home renovations in Canada that can help you plan your project.
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The 2021 RE/MAX Renovation Investment report stated that over 50% of Canadians undertook home renovations not to increase the value of their home but for their personal enjoyment.
The recent lockdowns due to COVID-19 stirred a deeper interest among homeowners to create more comfortable and enjoyable spaces in the home that suit their lifestyles. More and more people realize that while the home is an investment, it is also a place where we should enjoy spending time.
The lack of inventory in the real estate market and soaring prices also made it more practical to renovate than buy a new home.
In 2022, the following home renovations are predicted to dominate:
Bathrooms are the most frequently used area in the home. It is not difficult to understand why most homeowners would want to add a bathroom or improve their existing bathroom/s.
Aside from the practicality of this home renovation, bathroom upgrades also provide a high return on investment, calculated to be around 62%. Bathroom renovations are among the top 3 home improvement projects in 17 Canadian housing markets and are especially in high demand in major metropolitan areas.
A bathroom renovation can involve something as simple as a new tile backsplash, new fixtures, new paint, or a new vanity or a major remodel involving an expansion, change from tub to shower, etc.
The average cost of a bathroom renovation can be as low as $5,000 (low-end) to P$25,000 (high-end).
A kitchen renovation, including upgrading the kitchen countertop, also tops the list of most coveted home renovations with the highest ROI. This type of renovation can provide from 75% to 100% return on investment.
But the financial rewards are not the only reason kitchen renovations appeal to homeowners. It is not a secret that the pandemic has also changed our lifestyles, with more people spending time at home and making home-cooked meals. It is not surprising that the majority of homeowners desire a more convenient and practical kitchen to meet their changing needs.
Interior & Exterior Painting
Recent studies show that most Canadians want to keep their renovation expenses below $10,000. Interior and exterior painting renovations are also a t the top of the list for this type of budget.
Interior painting can give a facelift to the home’s interior and make it shine. Newly-painted walls can give any room a fresh look and allow homeowners to work on other minor repairs.
So go ahead and give a fresh coat of paint to your walls! Of course, it pays to get professional painters to do the work for a high-quality finish.
New flooring is also popular among homeowners and not surprisingly because it offers 100% or more ROI when done properly.
You may want to replace your old wooden flooring or carpet flooring or upgrade from ceramic to granite tiles, depending on your preferences.
Of course, the quality of the materials is not the only secret to top-notch flooring. The quality of the installation also matters and it is best done by professionals!
A new roof can provide an ROI of as much as 75%. It can cost around $5,000 but the investment is really worth it because your house will be better protected from the elements. At the same time, the resale value of your house also increases.
A new roof can significantly improve your comfort and convenience and make your home more attractive, too.
The best way to plan a roof replacement is to work with reputable roofing contractors who can assess the condition of the roof, give you the best options, and offer you accurate quotes.
While a basement finishing or basement renovation project is one of the most expensive types of home improvement, it is very popular because it provides a huge increase in livable space.
Rather than selling your house to buy a larger one, a basement renovation can give you the extra space you need at a much lower cost.
You can turn a basement into an income suite, a family room, a home office, or just about anything.
Know that this type of project is more complicated and is better left in the hands of professionals. You don’t want shoddy work to result in a flooded basement, among other things.
You can also add value to your home with a basement renovation and get as much as 75% return on your investment.
Doors and Windows Renovation
Upgrading doors and windows are two of the least expensive types of home improvement projects. While they are simple and affordable, their impact on home value and overall comfort, safety, and aesthetic appeal are is HUGE!
If you replace a medium-sized window using basic materials, the cost is $500 or more. An interior door also costs the same but an exterior door is more expensive. To calculate your budget, you will need to count the doors and windows for replacement.
Why are windows and doors replacement beneficial for home improvement? Windows protect you from the elements and allow light to enteryour living space. Effective windows can reduce your energy use with better ventilation. Quality doors and windows also increase the security in your home for your family’s protection.
Exterior upgrades – Gutters, Siding, & Trims
Is your exterior siding looking drab or old? Siding replacement can significantly improve curb appeal and home value for a minimum investment.
If you are looking to renovate your home and want to spend less than $10,000, consider exterior renovations to improve your gutter, siding, and trims.
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So why should homeowners renovate their homes? What benefits can be gained from a home renovation?
Most homeowners for 2 reasons – to fix a problem or something they need (space, comfort, aesthetics, convenience) or to improve home value (as an investment or to sell the house.)
Here are some advantages for homeowners who do a home renovation.
Increase comfort and function of the home
A home renovation project is an opportunity for you to customize the home to your needs and lifestyle. You can make any space more useful and enjoyable, thus, increasing your comfort level and improving its function.
You can turn your basement into a home office, update the bathroom to make it more convenient and relaxing, replace flooring, walls, or ceiling to improve design, or add a patio to increase usable outdoor space.
Save on energy
With energy costs on the rise, many homeowners are renovating to reduce energy consumption and save money. Poor insulation because of old windows or doors can greatly increase your electricity bill.
When you install new windows and doors, replace siding, repair or replace roofing, you also increase the energy efficiency of your home. A good contractor can help you determine the best changes to make to reach your goals.
Increase home value
If you are planning to sell your house, a home renovation can make your property more desirable to buyers. Improvements can help you ask for a better selling price.
You can improve the home’s appearance by upgrading fixtures, replacing dated cabinets or old flooring, upgrading the HVAC system, or getting new paint on walls and ceiling. A finished basement or remodeled bathroom can also dramatically increase home value.
Hire a Contractor for a home renovation
Who wants to deal with stress from a large project and be uncertain about the quality of the result? Of course, a smart homeowner wants to ensure that money spent on a home improvement project will achieve a satisfactory result.
Many problems related to a home renovation can be eliminated when you hire a reliable contractor.
Licensed professionals have the necessary experience to carry out your project to get desired results for the least possible cost.
Depending on the type of home renovation you want, you can hire a general contractor to supervise the entire project or hire specialized contractors for specific room renovations. These specialized contractors focus on bathrooms, kitchens, basements, or decks and patios. Other renovation specialists offer flooring, wall and ceiling, siding or fence, or roofing replacement, among others.
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When you hire a contractor for a home renovation, he will provide an estimate of the cost of the project.
It is a common practice to get multiple quotes from different contractors to be able to compare and get the best price. A contractor’s quote must indicate not only the total price for the project but also what are the inclusions or add-ons.
To give an estimate, most contractors will consider the materials and the cost of labor to complete the project.
The cost of materials will be the largest cost appearing on an estimate. The contractor will evaluate the size of the area, the condition of the affected area, and what materials are needed for flooring, drywall, painting, or other aspects of the project. The equipment is usually provided free but materials such as brushes, nails, cement, caulk, and other basic materials will be included in the cost.
A professional contractor will have a renovation team assigned to your project to cover all aspects of construction. Some may ask for a flat rate or a percentage of the total cost of materials. Others may also calculate the number of man hours likely to be needed and use this to calculate labor costs and markup.
As a general rule, the quote provided by the contractor will be the final price. This can change, however, if unexpected issues arise during the construction, for example, damage behind walls that have to be repaired. The contractor needs to inform you about any changes to the price.
Hence, it is advisable to have a contingency budget of at least 15% to 20% of the quote for such emergencies.
You can visit the Canadian Home Builders Association checklist for planning and budgeting your home renovation.
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A home renovation always costs MONEY. It can also disrupt your life temporarily as construction is ongoing. It is, therefore, important to prepare yourself by getting as much information as possible and taking the right steps to plan your project.
Below are relevant and frequently asked questions about home renovations that you need to know.
What is the best time of the year to do a home renovation?
Spring and summer are popular seasons for home renovations. Lower temperatures are ideal for working on exterior projects such as roofing repairs, exterior painting, fence, French drain, siding, etc. But contractors tend to be fully booked around this time so make sure to book a contractor 4 to 5 months ahead of time. For interior renovations like bathrooms and kitchens, any time during the year could work. You may even get a lower quote from contractors for a project in winter or fall.
Can I save money by buying materials and doing the project DIY?
Many people think they can save with a DIY home renovation. It may seem so at first because you eliminate labor costs. But unless you are skilled and experienced, you are bound to make mistakes.
You might need to call in a professional later on to finish what you started. He may need to re-do the work and use more materials to fix the problem. When you DIY a complex project, you may still need to hire a licensed tradesman like a plumber or electrician. In the end, the savings you make may not be much considering the time and effort you spent on your DIY project.
What home renovations increase home value?
Realtors would often say that kitchen and bathroom renovations add the most value when you are renovating prior to a home sale. Improvements that boost energy efficiency are also good investments. If you have an older HVAC system, upgrading it will increase property value and even help you save on energy bills.
Improvements that also enhance curb appeal such as siding replacement or adding a porch can also increase home value. But most importantly, improvements to correct issues such as roofing, attic insulation, caulking, etc. also protect the value of your property.
Do I move out during a home renovation?
If you doing an extensive renovation, it may be better to move out during construction. Expect the house to be dusty, noisy, with people going in and out all day. You can avoid being inconvenienced by staying somewhere for the meantime. If you are remodeling only one specific area such as the kitchen or bathroom and you have an alternative space to use, it is possible to stay home. The best thing to do is to consult your contractor during the planning phase.
What warranties are offered by contractors for the project?
Reputable contractors offer a warranty for their work (typically 2 to 5 years) while materials supplied would have varying warranties from manufacturers.
What parts of the home should be checked regularly for repairs?
Spring is when most homeowners check the home to see what needs to be fixed. Check for accumulated water due to melted snow, check that the foundation is not sinking, and if your French drain is working well. Also, check the condition of the roof by asking for a roofer to do a visual inspection.
Questions about bathroom renovations
How much is the average price of a bathroom renovation?
There are a lot of factors to take into account when estimating the cost of a bathroom renovation. The size and scope of the project and the materials you want to use will dictate the cost. An average bathroom renovation costs from $10,000 to $15,000. Many homeowners spend less when updating only essentials but for significant changes such as flooring, new vanity, new bath tub or walk-in shower, the costs can go as high as $20,000.
What is the best flooring material for bathrooms?
The floor should have a non-skid surface for safety and convenience. Designers recommend ceramic tiles as they are durable and easy to install.
What is the best way to save on bathroom renovations on a tight budget?
If you have a small budget, you can consider refinishing existing fixtures than replacing all. Prioritize upgrades – flooring, tiles, hardware, fixtures – based on your needs.
What is the average down-payment for a bathroom renovation?
A reputable contractor will not ask for a huge down-payment. It is common to give a 10% down-payment before the start of the project. The contract will indicate the schedule of your subsequent payments until completion.
What will a contractor do first for a bathroom renovation?
When you contact a contractor, he will do an on-site inspection to check the condition of the bathroom, take measurements, and ask what your design preferences are. From there, he will calculate the project’s cost and submit his proposal.
Is a shower or tub better for a bathroom renovation?
Families with children or seniors want a tub for safety reasons. Singles and young couples prefer a modern walk-in shower.
How long does a bathroom remodel typically take?
We can only say, it depends. If you are reconfiguring and changing the layout, it will take longer. If your type of project needs a permit, it will also require time. You will also need to choose the materials and wait for deliveries. The construction itself may take only 2-3 weeks but the timeline, including planning with a contractor, will take about 2 months, at least.
Questions about kitchen renovations
Kitchen renovations are among the most expensive home improvement projects but they also offer high return on investment. Check the questions and answers below to help you plan your project.
What is the average cost of a kitchen renovation?
Many factors are considered when calculating the cost of a kitchen renovation. On average, homeowners spend from $95 to $325 per square foot. The average price of a mid-range project for a small to medium-sized kitchen is from $20,000 to $40,000. It all depends on the features you want, materials you choose, and whether you replace all or just some of your appliances.
How can I save on kitchen cabinets?
Generally, kitchen cabinets account for 30% of the budget. Yes, they can be very expensive. To save money, you can pass on custom cabinets and go with stock products. You can also choose to refacing your existing cabinets (if possible) and just upgrade the hardware.
What labor is usually required for a kitchen renovation?
You will need the following trades or professionals for a kitchen renovation- general contractor, plumber, electrician, designer, carpenter, painter, and tiler. You may also pay for installation costs for cabinets and countertop.
You can choose to hire a kitchen renovation contractor that offers a turn-key project and he will supply all the labor needed from start to finish.
How much is needed to renovate a 12 x 12 kitchen completely?
A kitchen of this size, if completely renovated, would cost from $25,000 to $50,000 with all the essential upgrades.
What are some popular kitchen cabinets and how much do they cost?
There are various options for kitchen cabinets. Check the table below for materials and costs.
Average Price (Materials and Installation)
What is cabinet resurfacing and is it advisable?
Also called refacing, this option is ideal if you don’t want to spend a ton on cabinets but your existing ones have damaged doors, scratches, are faded and discolored. The cabinets will not be new but they will look much better. Although the return on investment is low compared to new cabinets, it is easier to do especially if you have a small budget.
Questions about basement finishing or renovations
Finishing a basement is a popular project among homeowners because it will increase livable space and increase home value. You can use the information below to guide you when planning a basement renovation.
Is it worth finishing or renovating a basement before selling a house?
Finishing a basement if you need more space or want to increase home value is a smart move. You can recover much of the cost when you decide to sell in the future. It has a projected return on investment of 70% to 75% at resale.
If you are finishing a basement just before selling the property, talk to your real estate broker and get advice. Many buyers prefer homes with finished basements but you might want to know how much more you can sell the home for if you finish the basement. Depending on your area, you may still be able to recoup the cost and sell the home faster with a finished basement.
As a guide, appraisers usually place value of a finished basement space between 50% to 60% of the livable space above ground. For this reason, experts advise spending no more than 10% of the property value when renovating the basement.
You should also work with a contractor in planning the design and budget of your basement renovation to get the most out of your investment.
What is the typical cost of a basement renovation?
The price will depend on the design and function of the basement. It depends on the scale of the project and what materials will be used. The national average for basement renovations is from $35 to $55 per square foot, meaning, that if you renovate a basement with 1000 square feet, you could spend about $35,000 or more to renovate it.
How can we prevent basement humidity?
The look and smell of a basement will indicate if humidity is present in the basement. This should not be neglected as it can cause much damage to your property.
Installing a French drain will around your foundation will help to keep water away from your home. If you already have one, make sure to check its condition regularly. You can also apply waterproofing membrane or coating on basement walls. Don’t DIY waterproofing and contact professionals to make sure the work is done well. Do not finish a basement until humidity problems are fixed.
What is the most basic basement renovation package offered by contractors?
Basement contractors offer basic packages that include drywall, flooring, painting, electrical, and insulation. The latter can’t be skipped because of the building code restrictions. When you add rooms, a kitchen, a toilet, or a separate entrance, it gets more expensive.
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You can find contractors for basement, kitchen, or bathroom renovations as well as general contractors for all types of projects. We also have skilled trades such as plumbers and electricians for home repairs.
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