3 Do's and Don'ts When Getting Ready For A Renovation

Renovating your home? Read this checklist first!

Renovations can be a hassle, to say the least. Designer Arren Williams is sharing his must-do’s and definitely don’ts – when it comes to renovation success.

First look around and see what else needs to be done. Bundling a series of projects together can often help keep costs down.

Tip #1: Search for a contractor in your neighbourhood

Finding a contractor you can trust is always a challenge. My best recommendation these days is Facebook, especially if you can ask a question in a neighbourhood group. That way you’ll get personal recommendations from friends and neighbours of work that happened recently. This is much better than those rating sites, since people often only rate when they want to complain.

No matter how you find your contractor, always ask for references. If you’re going the Facebook route, direct message the folks that have recommended the work they received, or ask the contractor himself for renos. For the references, you should be checking timelines (did they keep to schedule), cleanliness (did they clean up at the end of every day), and quality of work.

Hopefully you’ll find at least 2-3 contractors to interview and ask for quotes of the work. Compare quotes, and your impression of the contractor. This is someone that will be in your house!


Tip #2: What are some of the questions we should be asking?

The major questions you should be asking of your contractor are the following:

  • Schedule – When can they start?
  • Scope of work – What exactly does the work cover, and what does it not. Never assume that things that aren’t included on the quote will be done, even if you think they should!
  • Payment schedule – What is the payment schedule for the project? How much percentage up-front, then during the job, then once the project is completed. Never ever pay 100% up front!
  • Warranty – What is the warranty for the work being done?

You need to consider a contingency on top to cover any problems that arise during the project. Always keep in mind 10-15% over and above what has been quoted.

At this point, once the quote has been approved, you should be good to go. Now is not the time to start changing your mind, or dithering over fixtures and finishes. Any change after this point will be charged as a penalty, because the contractor will not want to slow down or delay the project.


Tip #3: Decide whether you’ll be living through the reno or moving out. 

Do not plan on leaving town during the construction. You need to be available every day, checking the quality of work and the progress on a daily basis, and checking in with your contractor if anything seems amiss. Also, this is a stressful thing to be doing, so make sure you’re kind to yourself and your loved ones. Practice self-care as much as possible to survive the process!

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