Basics To Consider BEFORE Your Renovation


Thinking about getting stuck into a renovation?  The chances are you’ve drawn up a wish list. You might be going for a complete refit, or you may be focusing one part of the house and garden. How do you decide what to include and what to leave out?  Most of us find the ideal wish list comes in at a little higher cost than we bargained for.  How can you make sure you choose wisely?  Where should you direct your dollars?

Estimate or Quote

Most of the time you will be dealing with an estimate. There is a big difference between that and a quote. A quote ties up a figure and that figure is final.  Nice as it may sound to have that security, it is rarely the case. An estimate is a guide figure. A wise contractor will tell you to allow an extra 10 to 20%. Those of us on a budget will need to adopt the same view.

This is especially true if you are raising finance to help you. The Bank will want to know the cost of the build and even how long it is going to take. You don’t want to find yourself halfway through and realise that your funds have run out!  More demoralising is the realisation that you won’t be able to afford to do everything you wanted and have to make sacrifices. Inevitably these will be the finishing touches that you had your heart set on.

Be Realistic

Getting inspiration can be a great way to motivate yourself. The award winning conversions we see are the result of a lot of hard work and effort. There are some great projects out there. The quality of the finish is a direct result of the decisions made earlier down the line. You need to stay grounded. Depending on your budget you might have to make choices. Talk to the professionals and work out the things that you want and those that you can afford. It might be tempting to dream about infinity pools and manicured gardens but they might not be suitable for your particular project. Focus on the things that are doable for your budget. Work out your priorities.

There might be aspects that you want to handle, and there are many that a competent DIY-er can contribute. If you can roll up your sleeves then why not work out the best places for you to save some money? Having said that there is no point in you taking a month to do something that a professional; i.e. a driver with a mini digger can do in a couple of days.  A dedicated and experienced professional company like can let you exactly where they can help you best. So, set your targets, look at your time frame and know who is doing what.

Get the Basics right

There is little point in trying to save money in places that are hard to see or reach. This applies to things like electrics and plumbing.  But is also applies to structural issues such as supporting walls and beams. It applies to damp proof courses and anything behind a wall or underneath a floor. A quality team of professionals are used to getting things right and facing these challenges. A contractor will be more than happy to guide you take you through the basics and let you know where the pitfalls are.  Once these are in place and understood you’ll be able to continue with your renovation knowing that you are safe and sound. There is nothing more disheartening than having to rip out a wall or floor further down the line.  Building inspectors will be all over you.  Make sure that codes are complied with.

Inevitably it is this part of the process that takes the time and the bulk of the money.  The rest is the fun and rewarding part. You’ll be opening those doors to the Home and Living magazine sooner than you think!


This post has been contributed by Matty

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