Home renovations are wonderful – you get to update your home to your tastes, and likely increase the resale value down the road. However, renovations are a large undertaking that require plenty of materials, time, and labour, all of which cost money. For this reason, before you even begin to plan the details of your renovation, the first step should be coming up with a budget.
It might not sound like the most enjoyable task, but it will help you avoid taking on unnecessary debts by determining at the outset what you can comfortably afford. And if you love HGTV or thumbing through home renovation magazines, a budget can also help you prioritize what is within your reach. To avoid breaking the bank with your next renovation, here are five tips to help you stay on track with your budget.
#1. Plan, plan, plan
One of the main keys to successfully renovating your home on a predetermined budget is to know as much as possible before the first nail is hammered. It can be easy to look online and make general assumptions about costs, but don’t forget that there can be huge differences in price for things you’d otherwise think were consistent. For example, floor tiles that may look similar in quality can be radically different in price. Small choices like ceramic versus porcelain, or the size of tile can result in a big change to both material and installation costs.
Customizing your selected materials also adds to the bottom line. For example, you may see countertop prices and think you know the price per square foot, but things like non-standard lengths and holes that need to be made for sinks and faucets can add to the cost.
#2. Stick to the plan
Once you do come up with a plan, stick to it as best as possible. Last minute changes will undoubtedly extend the timeline of your remodel, which means you’ll be paying more in labour costs. You also run the risk of doubling up unnecessarily on materials if you change your mind and are unable to return your original selections.
#3. Budget for additional expenses
Aside from labour and materials, keep in mind that you’ll likely have to pay for drawings and construction permits. And if your home is older, you may have to update things like electrical work that isn’t up to current code. Also, be sure to check if renovating your home means paying a higher tax rate and insurance premiums.
There are also expenses like taxes and shipping on materials, hotel stays and eating out more often which can add a hefty sum to your budget.
Overall, it is a good idea to budget 20% of your initial renovation costs for potential changes, material or design upgrades, and unforeseen costs.
#4. Make compromises
If you plan ahead, you can see an itemized list of what will be costing you money. And if one line item seems high compared to other higher ticket items, you can likely find comparable items at a lower cost. For example, while fancy lighting fixtures may look beautiful, they can cost a pretty penny. To reduce costs, see if the same style can come in different materials, in a smaller size, or can be created to be a bit less ornate.
If you’re having a hard time choosing materials or knowing what a comparable alternative is, an interior designer can guide you.
#5. Communication is key
When you’re ordering materials, don’t be scared to ask for discounts. Just because they gave you a quote doesn’t mean it’s not negotiable! Or you can always ask your contractor too if they have a recommended supplier – contractors are often repeat customers who do a large volume of orders, so they can have more leverage for price negotiations.
Also, be sure to tell your contractor your budget. Many people assume a contractor asks because they want to upsell you. However, the real reason for this is they need to see how they can best help you. Good contractors will always work with you to hone in on exactly what you want to make your renovation dreams come true within your allotted budget.
If you are ready to renovate your home or have questions about the renovation process, schedule a conversation with us today!
Renovating your kitchen can be exciting – after many months (or years!) of imagining and planning, you’ve decided to move forward with building your dream kitchen. However, even when everything goes smoothly during construction, it can feel like a nightmare when your regular routine is disrupted. Your house is a construction zone, there will be noise and dust, and you won’t have access to all your usual amenities. To help you through this, we’ve made a list of 6 tips to help you survive your kitchen renovation with ease.
While it’s inconvenient to not have access to everything in your kitchen, a lot can be done with just two electric burners. Think stir fries, pastas, breakfast foods, and one-pot dinner recipes. If possible, renovate your kitchen during the summer months so you can use your barbeque, and set up near a sink for easy cleaning if you can. And on those days where you just can’t face cooking a meal in your makeshift kitchen, have easy snacks on hand. Dried fruit, trail mix, and classic peanut butter and jam can be filling!
Buy paper plates and plastic utensils
Altering how you eat can be challenging enough, especially when there are dishes to wash by hand in a limited space. For easy cleanup, you can buy a pack of 100 paper plates for under $6 and a set of 120 plastic forks, knives, and spoons for under $20. And if the thought of throwing out that much waste doesn’t sit right, there are also compostable options that are made from recycled materials to minimize environmental impact.
Create a budget for eating out more often
While you can certainly make do with a makeshift kitchen, it’s understandable if you get sick of stir fries and pastas. Also, it’s nice to sometimes get away from the mess of a renovation. While eating out may not be a regular part of your family budget, it may likely become a bigger portion of your expenses when you don’t have access to a kitchen. So before your renovation even begins, anticipate how many times per week you’ll go out, multiplied by the timeline of the remodel to keep your budget in check.
Protect your valuables from dust
While we do our very best to minimize dust in your home during the renovation process, we can’t eliminate all dust and it can travel through the vents. Be sure to cover up your furniture and other valuable items to keep your home as dust-proof as possible.
Order as much as possible before the job starts
One of the frustrations that many people fear during a remodel is a delay in the timeline. The construction phase of a kitchen renovation takes an average of 6 weeks, sometimes longer depending on the extent of the remodel. Don’t forget the complete timeline – it can take weeks or months to plan and order supplies before construction even starts. Things like faucets, cabinets, handles, and lighting fixtures can take weeks to arrive, so it’s best to have these items on hand once the remodeling begins to minimize delays in construction.
Remember the big picture
While the noise, dust, and inconvenience can be frustrating, just remember that this a very short period of time in the grand scheme of home ownership. The temporary hassles of a kitchen renovation will be a blip on the radar when you look back on those times from your beautiful new kitchen!
If you are ready to remodel your kitchen, or have questions about the kitchen remodel process, schedule a conversation with us today!
Kitchens are the heart of the home and the centre of your family’s day to day living. But when you start to notice that it’s not as functional as it could be, or it has simply become outdated, it may be tempting to take a sledgehammer to everything in sight.
There are so many variables that go into planning a kitchen remodel and you need to truly understand how you would like to live, work and entertain in a new kitchen. So, before you pick up that sledgehammer, here are five questions to ask yourself to make sure you get the kitchen of your dreams.
#1. What bothers you about your kitchen?
Is there a cabinet and drawer that can’t be opened at the same time? Does the refrigerator door open away from your work area? Is your dishwasher too far from the sink? Not enough storage space?
If this is the case, you have a functionality problem. Luckily, there is a concept called the kitchen work triangle that makes it easy to understand how to get an efficient kitchen layout. Here are the principles:
- Each “side” of the triangle (e.g., the distance between the sink and fridge) should measure between 4 and 9 feet, and the three sides of the triangle should not exceed 26 feet in total.
- The work triangle should not cut through an island or peninsula by more than 1 foot.
- If the kitchen has only one sink, it should be placed between or across from the cooking surface, preparation area, or refrigerator.
- No major traffic patterns should cross through the triangle.
If your kitchen is perfectly functional and you feel like it just needs to be updated, what exactly needs to be updated? Would refinishing the cabinets give your kitchen the look you want? Or would you have to completely change the cabinets, flooring and countertops?
Decide if there’s anything in your kitchen you’d like to keep – this will be easier on your wallet too!
#2. What are your must haves?
Some people are entertainers who enjoy gathering their friends and family together for happy hour and appetizers and then moving to a big dinner table. If this is you, perhaps installing a kitchen island with comfortable bar stools and extending the dining space is important.
If you’re big into preparing everything from scratch and have all sorts of kitchenware, your kitchen remodel would prioritize storage so your dutch oven and canning supplies don’t take over your counterspace.
Maybe you’re the type that sees the kitchen as just a means to an end for cooking a simple meal with as little hassle as possible. If this is you, look into lighting options and personal touches like a pop of colour in the backsplash to make your space more appealing.
#3. What is my style?
Interior design can be tricky. Once you decide what design style suits you (e.g., traditional, contemporary, mid-century modern, etc.), you’ll need to determine what colours, textures, and materials best suit that style to pull the look together. Hiring an interior designer can take a lot of the guesswork out of this step!
#4. How much do you want to budget for your kitchen remodel?
A kitchen remodel can cost in the low five-figures for a small kitchen or a kitchen refresh, while a full gut and replace with new appliances and high quality materials can cost well over $50,000.
While you may have an extensive wishlist for your kitchen remodel, it may have to be pared back to fit within your budget. To get an idea of how much you should budget, check out this Ontario Contractor’s guide.
#5. How long are you planning to live in your house?
A lot of people ask us how remodeling will affect future resale value. While this is great to think about, you should remodel for your needs if you plan to stay in your home long-term. If you are simply looking to update your kitchen before putting it on the market in 12-24 months, consider what is selling in your area and use neutral colours.
If you are ready to remodel your kitchen, or have questions about the kitchen remodel process, schedule a conversation with us today!
When it comes to home renovations, we find that Hamilton homeowners often debate whether they should use a contractor or a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach. While DIY-ing renovations may be appealing to some, working with a professional contractor alleviates a lot of stress, and ensures that your vision is transformed into a reality. With that in mind, here are the top 8 benefits of hiring a contractor for your next home renovation.
#1 Save money.
DIY may seem cheaper in terms of upfront costs, but working with a professional contractor will greatly diminish the chance of surprise expenses that blow your remodeling budget. Not only can a professional contractor help you avoid unexpected expenses, we can also help you weigh the pros and cons of construction materials based on price and quality so you get the most bang for your buck.
#2 Save time.
From initial consultation to construction and completion, there are many timelines that rely upon each other and need to be coordinated properly to keep your home renovation project on schedule. If you choose a DIY approach, you may not realize that some remodeling processes won’t work in the scope of the entire project. Working with a contractor ensures that missteps are minimized, and if there are unexpected issues, they can be corrected quickly. Plus, a contractor can help you make informed decisions in a reasonably quick time frame, preventing delays from indecision.
#3 Get what you want the first time around.
We value strong relationships with our customers, suppliers, and within our own team so every home renovation project runs smoothly from start to finish. Fostering strong, positive relationships allows us to give our clients what they want, and helps guide them through the renovation process with compassion and understanding. We are home owners too! So we always put ourselves in your shoes to make sure you’re happy with the final result.
#4 Capitalize on expert buying power.
Whether you choose a contractor or you do the renovation yourself, the cost of materials can add up quickly; testing the limits of your renovation budget. One of the most notable benefits of hiring a contractor is that you can take advantage of their buying power. Professional contractors possess tremendous buying power in the home renovation market, and are able to acquire materials in a shorter time and at a much lower cost than you would be able to if you chose the DIY route. This not only helps keep your project on time, but it will also help you get higher quality materials for a lower cost.
We’ve heard from customers that two heads are definitely better than one when it comes to bringing a beautiful renovation vision to life with a realistic budget. Home renovation experts work to establish a level of understanding so a tailor-made solution can be created to address your immediate needs and then sequentially apply the right solutions to achieve your desired outcome.
#6 Be just as involved in decisions as a DIY (minus the hard labour).
When a client wants to be an active participant in the renovation process, it helps a home renovation contractor to create the exact outcome that the client desires. It has also been our experience that clients who are involved in the renovation process find that participation to be inspiring, and it gives them a lasting sense of pride about their newly renovated home.
#7 Get professional guidance.
Home renovations can easily turn into stressful, chaotic, and exhausting events if you don’t have access to a professional that can guide you through the renovation process. Working with professional contractors like the team here at Cornerstone Select involves working with a qualified team of pros that will each bring their specialized talents to the process.
#8 The renovation process is managed for you.
A professional home renovation contractor is accountable for everything, including the end result, so much more attention is paid to pricing in the planning phase, and scheduling in the construction phase. Fees, material costs, construction costs, and all other expenditures are carefully considered from the start of the project so you can be comfortable knowing the cost of the entire scope of work.
To learn more about how hiring a professional contractor can help save you money, time, and give you peace of mind for your next home renovation project, schedule a conversation with us today!