Home Renovation Tips

Have you considered making renovations to your home? Take advantage of these home renovation tips to make the process easier and faster.

Home renovation is a major undertaking. If you want to do it successfully, it takes thought and preparation. For example, you need to identify the reasons for the renovation. Are you interested in expanding your indoor living space? Do you want to build a backyard relaxation area? Is your goal long-term comfort for your family or increased profits when you resell the home? Those and other similar questions are important to ask in the beginning.

Once you have your home renovation goals identified, the next important step is to streamline the process. You may have a limited amount of time or money to spend on the renovation. Therefore, completing it quickly and as inexpensively as possible is important. Yet, it is also vital to maintain safety standards. Use the following home renovation tips to meet your goals without any medical, legal, or financial mishaps.

What Types of Demolition Can You Do and Not Do Yourself?

An easy way to save money on a home renovation is to do at least some of the demolition yourself. However, DIY demolition isn't a process you can take lightly. Small projects like ripping out cabinets or dismantling decks are usually fine to do on your own. Larger products often come with potential obstacles. For example, ripping a wall open could expose hazardous mold requiring professional removal. Additional issues that can arise during DIY demolition include:

  • Hitting Plumbing or Gas Lines

  • Being Exposed to Live Electrical Wiring

  • Removing Load-Bearing Walls Causing Potential for Structural Collapses

  • Possible Exposure to Harmful Materials (Asbestos, Lead Paint Etc.)

Another reason to limit or avoid certain types of DIY demolition is if you are physically not up to the task. Demolition often takes some degree of strength and stamina. It is not a task to try when you are feeling ill or weak. You also cannot safely do home demolition if you have allergies, asthma, or a compromised immune system.

When Should You Definitely Hire a Contractor?

A general contractor (GC) is not required for every home renovation project. However, hiring one is sometimes required and is almost always helpful. For example, it is best to hire a GC whenever building codes and permits are involved. Typically, that occurs when major structural changes are made or when plumbing, electrical, or other systems within the home are affected by the renovation. Other good times to hire a general contractor include:

  • When Many Subcontractors (Plumbers, Roofers, Painters Etc.) Are Required

  • If the Project is Expected to Last for Several Weeks and Needs Constant Oversight

  • When You Want to Take Advantage of His or Her Connections to Get Discounts on Materials

  • If You Are Not Sure You Would Complete All Required Tasks Properly by Yourself

Do You Need an Architect?

In some areas, local building regulations require most home renovations to involve an architect. Often, that is the case in urban areas, but it is not necessarily a requirement in more rural locales. Check with your local authorities to verify the rules in your area. If an architect is not required, the choice is yours. However, there are several benefits of architect involvement. Some of them are:

  • Your architect can help you solve difficult structural or space usage problems.

  • In some cases, you can rely on the expertise of the architect to help you use the space you have and limit the need for major construction.

  • The architect can identify issues you may not have considered, saving you from making costly mistakes.

  • If you are dealing with an unusual or historic home, a trained architect knows the safest and easiest ways to renovate within the constraints of the situation.

  • The architect can use new technologies to help you see how your design ideas are going to look when a project is completed.

  • An architect is familiar with and can easily avoid common home design omissions and flaws, such as forgetting to put electrical outlets in convenient locations.

Should You Hire Painters? 

Painters typically charge an average of $2 to $6 per square foot for their labor. You can save that money by doing any painting required during your home renovation yourself, but should you? Before answering that question, you need to understand painting is a multi-step process. It includes purchasing painting materials, tarps, and painter's tape and prepping the area to be painted. You must patch any walls and ceilings that need patching. A steady hand and a lot of time is also required.

Professional painters are used to performing all those steps. They can often paint walls or entire rooms in an hour or two. That process might take you an entire day or more. Painting professionals also know a lot about paint types and textures. For example, they can identify how much paint is necessary for a job. They can also often tell when multiple coats are required before they ever begin painting.

How Can You Save on Renovation Materials?

Another tip for saving on home renovation is to reduce the costs of materials. That can include everything from counters and cabinets to minor accessories. Check venues like Habitat for Humanity Re-Stores and local thrift stores for deals. You can also get deals on materials like counters by purchasing seconds or materials with minor flaws. You can also consider reusing the materials you already have. For example, refreshing your existing kitchen cabinets with paint and new handles is cheaper than replacing them.

Are Home Renovation Savings More Important Now or Later?

Your entire home renovation is impacted by your budget, and your budget is impacted by your short-term and long-term needs. If your goal is to save money now, expect it to cost money later. For example, cheap flooring may not last as long as flooring that costs more. Therefore, you may find yourself renovating again in a few years. If you prefer to save money in the long run, prepare to spend a bit more for high-quality materials and services now. A good home renovation usually includes a balance of both. Choose the areas in which to splurge and those in which to save wisely for the best short-term and long-term results.