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The 5 Stages of Home Renovations

Any well-executed home renovation project is certain to comprise five separate stages: planning, budgeting, demolition, construction, and cleanup. Each of the three final stages requires choices that can be considered at the initial planning and budgeting stages. Adhering to the initial planning and budgetary considerations as closely as possible can help you keep your renovation project on track and on time while eliminating nasty financial surprises. 


1.     Planning

Any remodeling project requires a plan clearly outlining the renovation’s objectives and an outline of the steps that need to be taken to complete the project. The plan should include sketches or drafts of the finished project, guided by design inspirations. It should also contain aesthetic and functional wants and needs and a timeline. Just as importantly, the plan needs to include an inventory of the materials required for the project, from tile tools to demolition gear. It is recommended that you stick to the materials that are chosen at this stage, as changing your mind about minor details mid-project can cause significant delays. 


In addition, the project’s phases should be classified according to whether they will be DIY or require a professional. Remember to consider potential cleanup costs and the possibility that you might not be living at home during the demolition or construction stages. If the project entails changing the structure of your home or the use of a part of the building, you should investigate local zoning regulations and whether a permit is required. Applying for a permit should be the final part of the planning stage when the project timeline is in place. 



2.  Budgeting

The next step when planning a home renovation is to determine your budget and financing. Consult multiple professionals, such as contractors or architects, for cost estimates. These companies are often willing to provide a ballpark estimate for free. Neighbors or acquaintances who have done similar work are also a good source for cost estimates, and there are also general rules for how much different types of rooms cost on average. For example, a kitchen renovation is typically more costly than redoing a basement or a recreation room due to the cost of fixtures and plumbing work.


Be mindful that costs can vary for construction materials and by location. The budget should include the costs for building materials, labor, and permits and take additional decorations into account. Set aside 10% of your budget for unanticipated costs. If cost estimates exceed your budget, eliminate the project components that are low priority.


Next, consult with a design professional. They are likely to catch potential problems and complications that you or a contractor would miss, making the 10 to 20% fee they charge worth it. If you decide to hire a contractor, request a formal and detailed bid and check their licensing and references before making a final hiring decision. 


3.     Demolition

Now that you’re ready to start with your home renovation, you’re going to have to break things to make things. Undertaking the demolition yourself can save you a lot of money, but if you do, there are a number of things you should be prepared for. First, it’s tough and dirty work, whether you’re removing walls, flooring, or wiring, so be sure to have the right outfit and take your safety needs into consideration. Second, make sure you have the right tools for the specific job you’re doing in advance.


These might include chisels, crowbars, sledgehammers, and tile tools for leveling, cutting, or mixing; buckets, brooms, contractor-grade trash bags, and sturdy work gloves. Make sure you keep these in one place at the end of each day so they are easily accessible the next. Third, plan to have a place to put the trash, such as a large container or a dumpster from your local waste management company.  


The demolition stage is likely to be shorter than the actual construction but be prepared for the disruption to daily life and the likely disorientation of waking up to trash everywhere. Make sure necessary areas such as the bathroom are accessible and ensure that your furniture is protected from dust and debris and that breakables are stowed away.  


4.     Construction

The construction phase can also feel like a chaotic time. Your home will still be a mess and, if you’ve hired a contractor, you’re likely to have tradesmen going in and out all day long. In this case, remember that your point of contact is always the home remodeling contractor, who should always be able to provide you with an overview of what’s being done and how at any given time. 


If your home remodeling project is a large one, it is recommended that you check into a hotel for the duration of the construction period. This allows you to avoid the debris and overall commotion, lessening your stress. It also saves you from dealing with inconveniences such as the temporary lack of power or water.   


If you think this will be the case, remember to price a hotel stay into the budget during the budgeting stage. Check with local hotels and Airbnbs for rate quotes for short stays or look for an apartment or house to rent for a short period. 


5.     Cleanup

Before you can fully enjoy the benefits of your newly renovated home, the final stage is to remove the debris, dirt, and dust. Post-renovation cleaning is intensive and is essential to making your home livable again. This includes sweeping and vacuuming all surfaces (including ceilings and walls), mopping floors, vacuuming upholstery, wiping down and sanitizing bathrooms and kitchens, and tile and stone maintenance; dusting everything off, including sills, frames, and ducts; general cleaning, and, finally, the removal of any remaining trash and debris. 


Cleaning is labor-intensive work. You can offset costs by doing it yourself but think about cleanup during the planning and budgeting stages. Remember that post-renovation cleaning is fundamentally your responsibility. Some contractors include cleanup in the overall labor cost, while others charge separate cleanup fees or subcontract with a separate cleanup company. Check with your contractor beforehand whether cleanup is included in the fee and, if not, check your budget to see if it would pay for you to do it yourself.


The Bottom Line

Stick to your original planning as far as possible. Think ahead about each stage and your role in it. Be patient during the implementation phases and keep the end goal in sight. 

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