What is your renovation going to cost?

By Andrey Sokolov, Camrose Canadian Lifestyles Contributor



The number one question all contractors get is “what my renovation is going to cost me?” And it’s a very important question. It may seem like it should be simple to answer, but there are so many considerations before answering this question.

The amount of factors that come into play when trying to price out a renovation can be overwhelming for a multitude of reasons such as, the size or scope of the project and the types of finishes or materials being used.

These factors come into play when determining exactly what the cost of your renovation is going to be. The bad news is that when it comes to renovations, we’re dealing with variable cost items and most contractors are trying to give you a fixed price of the start, which is often a recipe for disaster.

Let’s dive in and examine how these costs relate to your future renovation.

The size or scope of the project

Renovations come in all shapes and sizes. From your bathrooms being renovated to your entire house being gutted and completely redone. Now comes the tricky part, determining the exact scope of your renovation. This can start off as a simple decision, but will quickly change into something else when you start the renovation.

Let’s elaborate on that for a minute. Imagine you are doing an exterior renovation where you are focused strictly on doing the exterior siding, but then you talk with your contractor and understand that the new siding will make the soffit, fascia and eaves trough look very old. So you decided to add that to the project list but of course, this isn’t the end just yet! If you’re replacing siding, then this is also the perfect time to do windows. You see how the scope of the project can get out of hand? If you think this won’t happen to you, you may be surprised, as it happens to the majority of people who choose to renovate.

The best way to avoid this from happening is to sit down with your contractor and decide exactly what the scope will be and what things can be added to the scope ahead of time to save on large changes later on. Doing this will give you a better handle on your budget, and ensure you and your contractor stick to it.

Types of finish

Finishes make your home look beautiful, which includes such things as flooring, electrical and plumbing fixtures, cabinets, exteriors cladding such as siding and rockwork and could even include quality of paint. These finishes can throw your entire budget on a out of control rollercoaster if you’re not careful. Especially when there can be a communication break down between the contractor and the client when words like low-grade, mid-grade, and high-grade terms are used. These words are meant to group thousands of different products into three categories that are completely subjective. What I mean is my definition of mid-grade flooring, plumbing, or even electrical fixtures can be quite different from how you will interrupt these terms. The only way to avoid this is to pick out the exact products and finishes that you want beforehand and get real quotes on them. Leaving budgetary line items for these types of finishes can blind side you later on in your renovation when you realize the finishes you liked and left a budgetary item for all of a sudden isn’t a reality anymore. To top it all off, it’s possible that you’ll spend most of your budget initially and when you notice that you’re over budget you’ll try to start saving money near the end. Suddenly the vision you had for your project is now miss matched because most of your money was spent in the beginning and then you will more than likely select really cheap finishes near the end.

I’m sure you’ve talked to perhaps a neighbour or a friend and you’ve heard their story of them building their dream home and they start off strong and very quickly realize that they’re budget is no where in sight so you see these massive homes with very cheap finishes on the inside.

Your next renovation project has many factors when it comes to determining what the renovation is going to cost you. All these factors are also not fixed prices because different “grades” of finishes can throw your budget either way and then there’s other factors like lumber that is a commodity and fluctuates with supply and demand.

When it comes to your next project there is no doubt that you need to take your time to consider what you’re looking to have done and pick out exactly what you need. Otherwise, that dream renovation of yours can quickly turn into a nightmare.

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