MIKE'S TIPS TO PLANNING A RENO RIGHT:
If you want to love your reno, you have to plan it right. We plan to have a baby; we plan to buy a house; we plan a lot of things in our lives but people tend to not plan a renovation properly. This is the time you need to start planning for that reno, especially if your target start date is spring.
By following the tips below you’ll be in a better position to get the renovation you'll love and the results you expect.
Why are we in a hurry? This is why we need to take the time and we need to recognize that in planning it right it’s going to take time. And the more time you put into it the more things will get out of it—the more profit you will get out of it.
Educating yourself is extremely important. What products should you be using? Let’s say we’re planning for a bathroom. What type of drywall should we use? Should every single product in that bathroom be mould-resistant? The answer is ‘yes’. What type of tiles should we be using? Do you have the opportunity to go bigger? In other words, go into a bedroom, a closet? So by planning this out in detail your execution will become the dream that you’ve always wanted, rather than the nightmare you’re hoping I fix.
GET A MAINTENANCE INSPECTION
Before you start your job it’s going to be a really good idea to bring in someone who is qualified to give you advice. Can you go bigger? Do you need new plumbing? Do you need new electrical? Everything is based on the age of your home. So bringing in an outside advisor that doesn’t cost you a lot of money to help you plan ahead makes sense to me.
GET YOUR PERMITS
Do you need permits? A good way to tell if you need permits, odds are when you do a bathroom you will need at least electrical permits. If you move a toilet, you move a sink; you move anything to do with plumbing you will need a permit. If you gut and want to replace insulation you will need a permit for the insulation only. If you leave the outside insulation and just do a gut you will not need a permit. Bottom line: Check with your local building authority because they will tell you based on what you say whether or not you will need a permit.
For more on permits, click here.
CALL YOUR INSURANCE
Insurance is the number one thing that people miss. They don’t think about calling their insurance company. Are they insured for a reno? Are they insured in case they get a leak or something falls apart? It’s highly recommended to call your insurance company every time you are doing any type of construction or renovation on your home. Use your insurance company as guidance as to what you need, and can you pay extra for extra coverage. The answer is ‘yes’. Check with your insurance company.
For more on insurance, click here.
When we do a renovation and find a really good contractor we tend to want to expand that renovation. “Oh, while you’re here can you do a deck? Can you do the basement?” So it is key/essential in planning any type of reno to plan your budget. (a) Can you afford that? (b) Can you at least put it into a program that says we can afford to do the bathroom, then we can afford to do the basement in a timely manner. If you can bring in the contractor to do it all at once you will save money, but you won’t save a ton. But it is part of the planning.
This is the time when walls are taken down. Take advantage and upgrade your insulation. If you can, don’t do a batt insulation that we’re so used. Instead bring in the two-pound spray foam. And any time we do a reno I highly recommend to take that outside wall down and spray it, because you’re going to get a thermal break and you’re going to get a much better insulation. So each room or each renovation you do at a time, if you follow this procedure you will benefit from it environmentally, as well as in energy efficiency.
FIND THE RIGHT PRO
You want to take as much time as you need to make sure you hire the right contractor or professional for your project. If you don’t, you’re setting up your renovation to fail. Do your research; check out references (at least ten—the more the better); take a look at past projects and talk to the homeowners. Go and actually look at the work. Ask questions. It might seem like a hassle but believe me, you won’t regret it. But I guarantee you will regret it if you don’t do your homework.
For more on hiring the right contractor, click here.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
If they come on time, they make you feel good, you know they’re professional, they gave you the references without you even asking, odds are you’re dealing with someone that’s really good. But never fail to trust your instincts. They never lie.
SET UP A PROPER CONTRACT
Your contract is the end-all be-all of your renovation. If it isn’t in the contract you can’t count on it being done, and if anything goes wrong your contract is your only line of defense. It should have information on the materials your contractor will be using, sub trades, start and finish dates, and a detailed payment schedule.
For more on contracts, click here.