Renovation: Giving Property a Fresh New Look

Renovating properties is no small feat; these tips will make the process as smooth as possible (and within budget).

contractors replacing floor tiles for renovation

Published 19 Jul 2022

What is Renovation Work?

The term renovation work refers to making changes or improvements to a property. It can include painting and wallpapering to gutting and reconfiguring an entire room. There are several reasons to undertake renovation work, such as increasing the value of a property before selling it, making changes to suit the needs of a new tenant, or simply freshening up a space that has become outdated. No matter the reason for undertaking renovation work, the end goal is always the same: to improve the property somehow.

Whatever the reason for undertaking renovation work, the renovation process can be complex, time-consuming, and, at times, costly. As such, it is essential to have a clear plan in place before starting any work to minimize the risk of going over budget or encountering unforeseen problems.

The Definitions of Common Renovation Terms

When it comes to renovating properties, there are a lot of terms and phrases that you might not be familiar with. Here are some common renovation terms that you might encounter while planning your project:

  • Blueprints – An architect or designer will use drawings to illustrate the makeover. They will include the dimensions, materials, and types of fasteners.
  • Building Inspector – The inspector checks to ensure the remodel follows the building codes and ordinances. They do this by looking at the blueprints and reviewing how the job goes.
  • Change the House Footprint – A house’s footprint is the house’s overall size, including the attached garage and porch. Changing the footprint means changing the size of the house, which usually happens when you are adding on to the home.
  • Demolition – Removing old items, materials, wall coverings, or walls inside your home is the first step of a remodel. It will open up and clear the space for renovations and upgrades.
  • Design-Build – Some remodeling or new home construction companies can do the design work, like creating architectural drawings and the actual remodeling or construction work. This way, homeowners only have to work with one company during their entire project.
  • Footings – Reinforcement for concrete is through rebar. The rebar helps to support the foundation and the rest of the structure. Building codes determine the size and depth of the footing.
  • General Contractor – The person in charge of the day-to-day work on the remodeling project is usually licensed, bonded, and insured. In case of questions or concerns, you should contact this person.
  • Gut a Room – Remove everything from a room, including the walls. The framing, subfloor, and what’s inside the walls are left.
  • HVAC – An acronym stands for Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning. An HVAC contractor is responsible for ensuring these systems work properly to heat, cool, and ventilate your home.
  • Mechanicals – The systems inside the walls and ceilings, such as electrical, plumbing, and HVAC, are essential for powering the home.
  • Move a Wall – Removing a wall is a way to change the layout of a room. Depending on your needs, you can make it bigger or smaller.
  • Pull a Permit – You need a building permit from your local building department if you plan to build a house. It will ensure that a building inspector looks at your plans and ensures the finished project meets all safety codes.
  • Subcontractor – A contractor hired to do specific work, like plumbing or electrical.
  • Subfloor – The wood flooring installed over the joists provides stability. On top of the subfloor are floor coverings like carpet, tile, or plank flooring.
  • Tradespeople – Experts in a skilled trade, like roofing, tile, or electrical work. It is possible to hire these people to do subcontracting work on a project.

What is the Difference Between Remodeling and Renovation?

It is common to use the terms remodeling and renovation interchangeably, but there is a distinct difference between them. Remodeling typically refers to making changes to the existing layout of a space, such as reconfiguring a kitchen or expanding a bathroom. As for renovations, they generally refer to repairs or updates made to existing structures. It could include anything from replacing old fixtures to repairing the damage.

Examples of common renovations include:

  • Repainting
  • Refacing cabinets
  • Installing new light fixtures
  • Replacing windows
  • Updating appliances
  • Adding new hardware
  • Replacing tiles or flooring
  • Replacing outdated systems

Examples of common commercial and residential remodeling projects include:

  • Combining two rooms into one
  • Installing a kitchen island
  • Removing walls
  • Raising ceilings
  • Changing the layout of a room

Both remodeling and renovation can be major projects that require significant time and effort, but the result can be worth it as changing your property can be a great way to breathe new life into it.

Why is Renovation Necessary?

From time to time, every residential property needs a little bit of updating. Perhaps the kitchen is starting to look outdated, or the bathroom could use some new fixtures. Maybe the floors show their age or the paint is beginning to fade. You can breathe new life into your home by renovating. Not only will it improve your living space, but it can also add value to your property. When done right, a renovation can be a wise investment that pays off for years.

Of course, any construction project comes with its share of challenges. There can be disruptions to your daily routine, and unexpected costs can crop up. But with careful planning and patience, the result will be worthwhile. You can completely transform your home with a well-executed renovation, making it more comfortable, stylish, and functional. So if your home needs a facelift, don’t hesitate to start planning your next renovation project.

Factors Affecting Renovation

Renovation costs depend on various factors. The size of the project is the most critical factor. A small bathroom will cost less than a complete kitchen gut. The second factor is the quality of materials used. High-end materials will cost more than lower-quality alternatives, but they will also last longer and increase the value of your home. The third factor is labor costs. If you hire a professional contractor, you will pay more than if you tackle the project yourself. However, professional contractors have the experience and expertise to get the job done quickly and efficiently, saving you money in the long run. Finally, the location of your home can also affect renovation costs. Homes in urban areas typically cost more to renovate than homes in rural areas due to the higher cost of labor and materials. When planning a home renovation, it is essential to consider all of these factors to estimate the total cost accurately.

How Often Should You Renovate Your Property?

As any property owner knows, renovating a property is a big undertaking. In addition to being potentially costly, it can also cause disruption and stress. So, how often should you renovate your house? Several factors, such as your house’s age, the condition of its existing finishes, and your style preferences, play a role.

The materials and finishes in your house may show their age if it is older than 20 years. Moreover, newer homes often use materials and products with a shorter lifespan than older ones. It may require more frequent replacements. Renovations should also take personal preferences into account.

If you like to keep up with the latest trends, you may want to consider renovating more often than someone who prefers a more traditional look. Ultimately, there’s no hard and fast rule for how often you should renovate your property. However, by considering the age of your house, the condition of your finishes, and your style preferences, renovating at the right time will provide you with the best results.

Should You DIY or Call a Pro?

Considering the number of home improvement shows on television, it’s no wonder that more and more homeowners are opting to take on do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. After all, it can be tempting to save money by doing the work yourself. Professionals, however, are best suited to some projects. For example, suppose you’re considering a major renovation, such as adding an addition to your home. For that reason, you should consult an architect or designer.

Additionally, a licensed contractor should always perform complex electrical or plumbing work. It will not only protect your safety but also prevent costly mistakes. Consider the scope of the project and your skill level when deciding whether to DIY or call a pro. The following factors will ensure the success of your renovation project.

What is the Process of Renovating a Property?

While not every renovation project follows the same path, following a strategy can help you avoid extra effort. For example, closing walls and painting may be enough to satisfy your needs for the moment, but you’ll have to add a new plumbing stack that will necessitate going behind the wall again if you need more space.

Many projects require several phases. But, here are ten typical steps to consider.

Step 1: Make a Plan

Set priorities before starting your project. Decide where to begin and whether or not you have the time and money to complete the project.

Step 2: Set a Budget

Make a list of all the expenditures you’ll need to make, and come up with a final figure on how much you can spend. Allow for 10 to 20% more for unforeseen expenses.

Step 3: Hire a Contractor

Select a contractor with whom you are comfortable. Entering into a contract that specifies the scope of work from the start can be helpful throughout the renovation process, especially if you have multiple contractors working on your house at once.

Step 4: Talk to Your Insurance Company

Contact your insurance provider before and after your project to ensure you have the necessary coverage. Renovating your home can increase its value, which might necessitate increasing coverage limits to safeguard your investment better if damaged or destroyed. Ensure that the contractor has valid insurance as well.

Step 5: Secure Permits and Order Materials

Many cities require permits, which can be essential to avoid specific problems during construction. Ensure your contractor is up to date on the latest laws in your area since inspection standards vary from place to place.

If you’ve obtained the necessary permits, it’s time to order suitable materials, such as wood, drywall, windows, and doors.

Step 6: Start Demolition

Finally, it’s time to destroy things after all your supplies have been delivered to the job location and thoroughly examined. Framing generally follows if extra room is required. If you are relocating walls, installing new windows and doors is a perfect opportunity.

Step 7: Work Behind the Walls

It is the stage for essential work behind walls, below floors, and above ceilings—plumbing rough-ins, subfloors, insulation installation, and electrical and heating ductwork rough-ins. Next comes smooth exterior finishing with patching, drywall hanging, taping, and sanding.

Step 8: Paint and Install Flooring

Some contractors may want to install flooring first, while others want to prime and paint before laying down new flooring (to avoid stains from reaching the new flooring). Your contractors’ availability may also determine the sequence of operations.

Step 9: Install Cabinetry

Following the completion of the walls and floors, the room’s actual appearance begins to emerge. Cabinets are generally put in next, with upper cabinets preceding lower ones.

Step 10: Add Finishing Touches

It’s time to finish minor touches and decorations, such as painting and backsplashes, floor sealing, light fixtures, hardware, and other touch-ups.

Top 6 Renovating Mistakes

Often, people believe renovating their homes is a quick and easy process. However, several things can go wrong if you’re not careful.

Here are six of the most common mistakes people make when renovating their homes:

  • Buying cheap materials
  • Inaccurate measurements
  • Skipping the prep work
  • Gutting everything
  • Using the wrong tools
  • Neglecting safety
Robertson Paredes

SafetyCulture staff writer

Rob Paredes

Rob Paredes is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. He is a content writer who also does copy for websites, sales pages, and landing pages. Rob worked as a financial advisor, a freelance copywriter, and a Network Engineer for more than a decade before joining SafetyCulture. He got interested in writing because of the influence of his friends; aside from writing, he has an interest in personal finance, dogs, and collecting Allen Iverson cards.

Rob Paredes is a content contributor for SafetyCulture. He is a content writer who also does copy for websites, sales pages, and landing pages. Rob worked as a financial advisor, a freelance copywriter, and a Network Engineer for more than a decade before joining SafetyCulture. He got interested in writing because of the influence of his friends; aside from writing, he has an interest in personal finance, dogs, and collecting Allen Iverson cards.