The Art of Renovation

Love your current neighbourhood but you’ve outgrown your house? The kids have moved out and your space doesn’t function properly anymore? You’re planning to sell but your home doesn’t show as well as it could? All good reasons to consider a renovation!

42% of Canadians in 10 major centres renovated their homes in 2010, with another 39% intending to do work in 2011*. The most popular improvements involved interior cosmetic changes, but a substantial number also upgraded the building envelope.

At Wilco Construction Ltd., we are finding that an increasing percentage of our projects involve major renovations to existing properties, primarily to suit new purchasers. Often clients will find the perfect lot but with the less than perfect house already on it. A lot with a dated house can often be purchased economically, and recycling an existing property can be a cost effective and eco-friendly alternative to building new.

Why consider a renovation?

– add value to your home (market value can often far exceed the cost of the renovation), and protect the investment you’ve already made

– improved lifestyle – more (or better use of) space, new aesthetics, reduced maintenance, allow aging in place, provide more comfortable surroundings

– healthier living environment – better air quality using low voc products and new building technologies,

– reduce on-going energy costs – eg. replacing an old gas furnace with a new heat pump will significantly cut monthly operating costs

– reduce carbon footprint – employing new energy technology and longer-lasting, low maintenance materials will reduce energy consumption and mitigate early replacement; low voc products reduce off-gassing

Things to keep in mind if you are considering a renovation:

– How large a project are you prepared or willing to take on? Large renovations generally require that homeowners vacate during the work.

– How long do you intend to stay in the property? Does the investment make sense financially, or from a lifestyle perspective for the period of time you’ll live there?

– Budget – Minor cosmetic upgrades vs. major retrofits. Significant cost savings can be recouped from government grants for upgrading heating systems, windows & doors, insulation, etc. and on-going energy savings contribute to paying back the initial layout.

– Might there be potentially hazardous materials, eg. lead or asbestos, that need to be removed or remediated? This work must always be done by qualified personnel!

– Hire an experienced, licensed contractor. Make sure they are in good standing withWorkSafeBC. You will have constant contact with, and entrust your budget and vision to, this individual or team so make sure you have a good rapport before finalizing your decision.

For more detailed topics, see:

* CMHC Renovation and Home Purchase Report