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How to Estimate Your Renovation Project

Estimating a renovation project is actually half art and half science. There are some factors that increase the cost of a renovation project, such as the design and the scope of your renovation project.

If you feel unsure, you can try to calculate it your own.  One rule of thumb that you can always count on is estimating how long it will take to do the job, and then double it.


How to Estimate Your Renovation Project


Important factors to consider include:

1. Demolition

This job is usually performed quickly and without any problem, but you have to do it carefully and with care. If you work it slowly and carefully, it will take less time than demolish some structures with heavy equipment, and then sort things out through the debris to find some part that can be re-used.

A good dust barrier is necessary to prevent dust from spreading throughout the rest of the house. Be assure not to damage existing structures, like hammering through a good wall or ceiling of another room. Assessing such damage to the surrounding finishes can be difficult to predict.  Thus, you have to be more careful and wisely inspect how the structure is interconnected with each other before you start to rip it off.


2. Labour issues

Work at a home that are full of children, pets, valuable items and building structures that are in need of protection, will add the time and cost of remodelling work. The most common problems include:

  • Access to the site. Taking the tools and materials along the narrow stairs or through a second-floor window will slow down your renovation work. Working in a confined space will be longer than usual. In urban areas, parking and delivery can be a problem as well. Also, walking through a narrow part of the house to get to the workplace can be a daunting task for workers.
  • Structure protection. Placing a good boundary that separates the remodelled area from the living area is a great idea. It’s because it takes time and materials to protect the entire structures from the remodelling process. If you damage the other areas of your work, they will inadvertently extend the time and make the cost higher.
  • Work place maintenance. When working in a busy house, you may need a lot of time to control and clean up dust and dirt. Thus, it will only give you additional work at the end of the day like keeping rain and weather from disturbing open structures and maintaining a safe environment for pets, children, and others.


3. Structural Problems

Look before you jump or in this case, before smashing things. It is not always 100% clear which structure that hold a wall. You will need to carry out a thorough investigation before demolishing or removing a wall.  If you are in doubt consult the expert, like a contractor, an architect or a civil engineer.


4. Toxic materials – lead and asbestos

Testing and disposing, or encapsulating lead or asbestos can greatly increase the cost of remodelling old homes. The laws vary from state to state regarding to a DIY risk management. So be sure to consult the project with your local construction department for planning and evaluating your work.


Many states allow homeowners to carry out their own “remediation” under certain conditions.  It can save a lot of money, but you and your family will be potentially exposed to the toxic materials. In some cases, you may be allowed to keep the material in place and cover it with new materials – which often become the least expensive approach.

  • Lead paint: Most old houses contain lead paint. It can be concealed under the modern paint.  Lead becomes dangerous when the flakes or dust are swallowed or inhaled after grinding, stripping, cutting or other activities that can disturb its presence. Burning lead paint and inhaling fumes is especially harmful.
  • Asbestos: is widely used in insulation, tubing and boiler housings, as well as other building materials by the early 1980s. In addition, insulation and sheath pipes, common applications include flooring (vinyl/linoleum / rubber), and textured ceilings. Asbestos becomes dangerous when the material is cut, broken, or crushed and becomes air. “Loose” soft, and brittle asbestos, often surrounding old boilers and pipes, is dangerous as well. Depending on the state of the material and local regulation, the remediation options can include covering the material with a non-toxic product, “encapsulation” with special coatings, or a complete asbestos removal.


As a homeowner, following these rules can be a good place to start in estimating the budget and a preliminary assessment before you start your remodelling project. However, all the uncertainties and variability in the remodelling work, it is much better to get the real offers from contractors or subcontractors.  If you are a good negotiator, you can have the contractor to perform as many tasks as possible with a lower expense.  In the end, you’ll get a better renovation result without emptying your pocket.

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