When most people are looking at either buying or selling an older home – in the back of their minds they have a renovation to-do list of changes they would like to make. Whether you are looking for added value or just to create a space that is reflective of you, here are just a few items that we run across when looking into renovating an older home – and by renovating, we mean improving what you have and not adding an addition or second storey.
Many people think visual only. Little concern is given to those things that make your house “run” properly. Here are a few things to consider before you start tearing your house apart:
- Electrical – How old is your electrical system? Can it stand to have more or higher powered fixtures added to the “electrical load”? Is part of your renovation going to have to include a major re-wiring job?
- Plumbing and Heating – What condition is the furnace and hot water tank in and how old are they? They don’t last forever! Is now the time to replace them while your renovating anyway? Check your plumbing fixtures for signs of minor leakage. Minor can very quickly become major! If you have concerns, call a plumber and have them look at your plumbing and heating systems. If repairs are needed what repairs and how much? Have you accounted for this in your budget?
- Structural – Are you planning to remove a wall? Is there electrical, plumbing, or heating services running through it? Where else can they be run if you remove the wall? What is the wall holding up? You may need the services of an Engineer! More money that you will have to spend!
- Was your home built before 1990? If it was, there is a chance that the drywall / plaster contains asbestos. If you leave it alone, no problem, but if you are tearing out wall finishes, or plan to damage them during your renovation, you might want to have them tested BEFORE you start planning any renovations. Asbestos abatement is expensive due to the procedures that must be followed and the cost of disposal of the affected materials. Testing will seem expensive but it may save you much more in the long run.
Finally, most people have only a very general knowledge of what makes their home “run”, before you start have your home looked at by a qualified contractor or home inspector. The small amount you spend now may save you thousands in the long run and armed with the knowledge of what you can or may have to do as part of your renovation, plan your dream renovation based on that knowledge.
Renovating can be a fun or creative experience or a nightmare – lets plan ahead so we can have some fun!
On the Lower Mainland of BC we don’t expect to get the large amounts of snow that are seen in other areas of the province. Here we fight the battle of moisture. Preparing your home for Winter usually means preparing for a lot of rain. Here are a few tips from our expert Steve.
- Check the condition of your roof. Are repairs needed? Do you need to have it cleaned? Remember that most work on your roof should be done by a person qualified and equipped to do so.
- Clean your gutters. Whether you have standard or hidden gutters, pitched roof or flat roof, you need to be sure that water is cleared away from your residence. This is especially important in the late Fall as the blowing leaves will block gutters and roof drains. In the case of a flat roof this can add hundreds of pounds of weight to your roof that it was never designed to carry. When it freezes, overflowing gutters can cause ice to build up on exterior stairs and walkways creating issues not only for your home but for your safety as well!
- Get ready for possible ice by having a supply of de-icer ready. Be careful to read the label of the product you are purchasing to ensure it is suitable for the surface that you want to use it – Salt is not a good option for concrete as it will cause pitting over the years, however it usually is acceptable for paved driveways.
- Drain and put away your garden hoses. If you leave them out over the Winter, a good freeze will crack them. You should also turn off your exterior hose bibs. If you have an older residence, it might be wise to get an insulated cover to put over your hose bib. They are usually available from your local hardware store and are pretty inexpensive.
- Have your heating system checked, this is a great time to ensure that it is in proper working order and to change the filter.
- Check to see that weather stripping and caulking is in good condition around doors, windows and all other openings. Check that the flashings are in good repair. Remember water is always looking for a way to get into your home! Water “ingress” into a home is always an expensive problem to fix so stay ahead of the game!
- Have a quick look at all your plumbing fixtures including inside of sink cabinets Take all of that stuff you keep, and hardly ever see, out from the cabinet and have a good look. If you see water staining, minor mold, or condensation around a pipe etc you have the start of a problem. Take care of it now! There is nothing like getting out of a nice warm bed onto a floor full of water!
Finally, after you have checked off your Winter home prep to-do list – kick back, enjoy a cup of cocoa and soak in the loveliness of the Season!
We all know Kitchen and Bathroom renovations are where as a homeowner you will put the most of your hard earned money, and where you will also get the biggest return for your investment.
When it comes to countertop selections it is important to consider not only the cost, but also durability and ease of maintenance.
We polled our crew to find out what they love and here is what they are over the moon for.
Steve, our Senior Project Manager, is sold on Quartz. A long time fan of natural stone, he has made the leap to quartz for the variety of colours available, the antibacterial quality and the low maintenance which has been a huge draw for our clients.
Steve also likes the ease of mix and matching colours within the same space – “When you don’t have to worry about different patterning in the veins or an overall different feel in the stone it really opens up the ability to be creative and be able to utilize different counter colours within the same space”.
Hayley, our design fanatic, loves adding in wood counters to create warmth in a space! They come in a variety of colours and species, they age beautifully, and are a lot quieter then stone counters! While they can be a bit more maintenance then stone (they usually require oiling once or twice a year) they can be sanded and refinished easily. “I love the way wood counters seem to add a serene feeling to a kitchen – the give the cabinets a furniture-like feeling, creating a space that you could really hang out in!” says Hayley who is forever in her own kitchen prepping traditional family recipes.
When you decide on renovating make sure to put some time into selecting your counters – We promise your time will be well worth it! If you are not sure where to start give us a call, we would love to help out!