Bitten by the reno bug?

May 5,2021 | Guelph Living

Bitten by the Reno Bug, here are a few things to keep in mind before you start…


No matter the size of the project, you have to start off with knowing your budget and a plan!

Having a plan means doing your homework! Whether this is your first reno or fifth, each project has its own challenges and it’s important to understand what you’re getting into. 

Before you start:

Always get references for your tradespeople and contractors! Take a look at past projects, talk to past clients and, if you get a chance visit their current project and check out their site. Is it clean, safe and are those clients happy? Look at the workmanship. If red flags are going up take a step back and ask questions! There are no silly questions and you are spending a lot of money on your principal residence so it is important to have a full understanding of what you will be getting. 

Once you have found that local builder that fits your family and you have completed your homework, leave it to the pros. They have a team of professional trades they work with and trust. A good project manager will coordinate your project and take the pressure off your plate.

Always remember to be patient, and schedule update meetings so you know how things are going. It’s better to come to the table with a list of questions than to call every day.  

Best of luck, hope this helps when you are ready for your next renovation.   

Here’s some advice:

 1. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard the phrase, always add 30-40% to your budget and timeline for the extras and unexpected issues.  Don’t let this scare you off, but rather prepare you for the task at hand.

2. Ask yourself this before you start: Is this your forever home or a short-term stepping stone? This should help guide you in making decisions on finishes and adding upgraded features to your home.

3. Start shopping around and get to know the costs for your finishes that you want to select. There’s a big difference between marble and porcelain, custom cabinets and big box store cabinets etc. If you know what you want ahead of time it will help keep your budget on track.

4. Builders are not mind readers, the more information they have of your expectations upfront will ensure a good working relationship.  It’s your money, you have to know what you are getting upfront. Bring samples and pictures of what you like, so there’s no confusion. AND ask questions!

5. Frequent conversations and site visits can help ensure you are aware of what is happening in your home. This is important to help problem-solving and getting ahead of problems before it’s an “issue.”

6. Don’t get caught up in the “wants.”  Be realistic when it comes to your own lifestyle and needs.

7. Set your renovations up into different phases. It can help you manage your budget and have more realistic expectations as you move forward.

8. Do-it-yourself demo can save you some cash and time. This applies to the areas you know you can handle.  Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can save money and time if used wisely.  You may be able to do the dirty work, take out the old carpet, remove those kitchen cabinets etc.

9. Reuse materials. For example hardware handles, appliances, lighting fixtures, trim etc. It all depends obviously on your end goals but sometimes a little TLC and paint and bring your existing pieces back to life.

10. Doors, casing, and baseboards…splurge if you can. These are the show stoppers of a room. Entering into a room with lovely doors and quality trim speaks volumes.

11. Permits: This is not the time to save, this is a must. Spend the money and get all that work completed inspected for peace of mind and also when it comes to resale.

12. If you have a friend who is an electrician or plumber, you can maybe trade-off services that can be beneficial to both parties! (This really applies to smaller projects).

13. Flooring is also a splurge in my books. This is an item if it’s tile or wood it’s time to pick the best you can afford.  I say save on the exotic woods and use what we have available to us in Canada. Again if you have pets and don’t tiptoe around your home, maybe you can save and use durable engineered wood.

14. Ask your contractor for visits multiple times through the process. ASK QUESTIONS! Make sure you have a full understanding of what is happening. Ask them to go over electrical drawings so you know where each plug and light will be, ask where vents will go etc. It is easier to make changes in advance than after the fact!

15. Keep it Classic, using too many trendy products will date your renovation, and you may have some regret sooner than you think. Paint is cheap, and it’s a great way to add personality to your space.


Thanks Emerald Designs for your input on this Blog! 



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *