Frequently Asked Questions About Home Renovations
Start with obtaining quotes from verified contractors (Smart Reno offers up to three free, no-obligation quotes from vetted pros in your area!). And quotes aren’t just about the cost either, as each contractor may offer different options for making your home renovation dream a reality so be sure to compare and ask follow-up questions.
Next, confirm that the contractor has all of the necessary insurance and licences. Regardless of whether you find a contractor through Smart Reno or not, make sure that the contractor has no liens against them – these show that the contractor was unable to pay trades on previous projects.
Once you’ve decided on a contractor, ask them to provide a formal written contract that includes all of the details of the project (start and completion dates, payment schedule, project details and materials) and have both parties sign this contract. For payment schedules, a general guideline is 10% of the total price before the work commences to cover the initial cost of materials; higher amounts can be a red flag and may indicate the contractor is having financial difficulties.
The cost of a home renovation varies greatly and depends on so many factors (the size of the house, its age, current condition, location etc.) that there is no set answer. However, a great place to start is Smart Reno’s home renovation cost estimator tool. You can fill in your specific details (materials you want to use, the size of your space) and get a general estimate of what kind of renovation budget you can expect.
Very broadly, and with all the many variables in mind, here are some average estimates for home renos across Canada:
- Kitchen: $25,000 to $50,000+
- Exterior work (siding, brick, foundation, etc.): $1.80 per square foot and up
- Bathroom: $15,000+
- Bedroom: $3,000 to $10,000
- HVAC system: $4,000+
- Windows: From $250 each (double hung) up to $5,900 (multi-pane bay window)
- Landscaping: $5,000+
- Roofing: From $2.75 (asphalt) to $38 (slate) per square foot
- Home extension/addition: $200 to $475 per square foot
- Interior painting: $2,000+
- Laundry room: $5,000
- Home office: $250+
- Basement: $35,000+
Verified and reviewed contractors have experience so they know how to get the best results and get the job done right the first time. They have access to other industry professionals, tradespeople and suppliers which means they can get discounts and pass them on to you. They’re fluent in the different areas of home improvement so they know which tools and materials will work best for your project.
Verified contractors always put safety first by following all building codes and safety procedures and they respect your property – there is never a mess left behind.
Finally, investing in a verified contractor ultimately offers overall value for money – a job well done lasts a long time and increases resale value.
Once you’ve got your list of contractors, you’ll want to interview them to find the right one. To make sure you’re getting the best work from a contractor, here are some key questions to ask them.
What is your background and how much experience do you have with this kind of work?
You don’t want to hire a beginner when it comes to something as serious as a home renovation. Don’t be afraid to ask how long a contractor has been in business, how long they’ve managed their own business and their experience with the specific renovations you want for your home.
How many similar projects have you completed?
Confirm that a contractor has indeed done projects similar to yours and ask how many they have finished. If it’s just one, it could be a red flag that indicates the results weren’t satisfactory.
Will you be hiring subcontractors on this project?
Subcontractors or tradespeople are sometimes required for certain projects that require specialized work, like countertop fabrication and installation for a kitchen reno. If your contractor is hiring subcontractors, confirm in advance how they will affect the renovation, who the subcontractors are and what they will be working on. Ask your contractor if they will be on hand to supervise the subcontractors and, when it’s confirmed subcontractors will be on site, get their names and contact numbers so you have a point of contact. It’s also imperative to ensure that any and all subcontractors are fully licensed to perform their tasks.
Are you comfortable providing a list of past clients?
Any reputable and verified contractor will happily share past clients’ experiences and references. It is up to the homeowner to follow up with each of the clients (the more, the better) so they can be assured of the contractor’s abilities and level of service.
What is a realistic timeline for this project
Unexpected issues are always a possibility – especially with post-pandemic supply chain issues – but an experienced contractor should be able to provide a relatively accurate timeline for the completion of a project. It’s important to ask for completion dates, timelines for various stages of the renovation, as well as how any delays will be managed; This is a good way to track progress and make sure your reno project stays on track.
The kitchen is the heart of a household, and a kitchen reno is a big deal! That’s why we have a whole page dedicated to helping you plan your kitchen renovation.
Your bathroom should be a sanctuary. We have all the info you need to plan your bathroom renovation and find the perfect contractor.
Unfinished basement? No problem! Check out our basement renovation hub to find answers to all your basement renovation questions.
We sure can! More complex projects need a general contractor to oversee them; you can find more information on our General Contractor hub.
We can! Check out our Handyman page for more information on these types of projects.
If you’re not sure where to start planning your home extension, check out our Home Extension page! It’s a great place to understand your project before you request your contractor quotes.
There is no minimum project size for your renovation projects.