A renovation can bring new life to your current home.

Whether you have a home renovation project in mind as grand as a home addition or would just like a facelift to one of the rooms in your home, Fortress Homes and Renovations can help. Our professional team will not only strive to ensure that we provide the results you are looking for, but that the renovation process moves quickly and smoothly to minimize any disruption to your home.

To that end, Fortress will carefully plan and prepare for the project with you as well as advise you of any foreseeable issues that could arise in any renovation to ensure there are as few surprises as possible and any such obstacles can be navigated swiftly.

Modern kitchen
Outdoor living space, fireplace

Outdoor Living Spaces

Take full advantage of your summer with an outdoor living space. A new patio, deck, outdoor fireplaces or kitchen can help you enjoy your backyard and some fresh air a little more comfortably.

What do I need to know when considering a home renovation or remodelling project?

Renovation goal or objective:

You should have an understanding of what you want to accomplish with your proposed project. If you are considering a kitchen remodel for example are you just looking for a fresh new look or would you like more counter top work space, more cabinet storage, a more open and usable space with better flow?  If you are not quite sure you should discuss your options with your designer or contractor. Don’t forget to check our our Renovation Tips.

Budget:

Every project no matter how big or small requires a budget. Your budget must reflect what your are comfortable spending. It must also be realistic and adequate for the desired project. If you are unsure if the project you are considering is possible with the budget you have in mind you may want to discuss this with a contractor you trust. While some people may feel uneasy disclosing their budget to their contractor they are the most knowledgeable source to determine what can and what cannot be accomplished within your established budget. If a project doesn’t fit within your budget they can offer cost saving solutions, design alternatives and methods of scaling the project back so that you can the proposed renovation does fit within your budget.

Top factors of a Renovation influencing build costs and your Budget.

1.Size / Square footage: the size of the project is the first factor to consider. This will affect the quantity of raw building materials, finishing materials and labor.

2. Area of home being renovated: this will affect the scope of work and materials required. Kitchens and bathrooms as an example are typically the most expensive rooms in your home. Beyond the basic walls that every room has they have additional electrical, venting, plumbing systems & fixtures, cabinets, countertops and typically a higher level of finishing. As a general rule the more extensive and or complicated the scope of work and the higher the level of finish the more expensive the renovation will be.

Modern kitchen
Kitchen counter underlighting
Full kitchen
Kitchen counter results

3. Finishing Materials: One of the most exciting parts of a renovation is selecting your finishing materials to suite your personal tastes. While raw construction costs per square foot are reasonably consistent finishing materials can range in cost quite dramatically. While visiting all the beautiful showrooms you will need to be a responsible shopper if you want to stay on budget. It is not at all uncommon to fall in love with products outside your budget. It may be advisable to have your salesperson pull product samples in colors and styles that fit your budget rather than just walking through the showroom. While it is nice to peruse through the showroom your eye will inevitable be drawn by something flashy far outside your budget. If it’s absolutely stunning and looks like a million bucks, it probably is. Also of note, quite often pricier and more exotic materials cost more to install compounding the price difference.

4. Custom Designs & Features: Custom designs & features can really set apart your renovation project. When setting a budget, you must understand that custom features will come with a custom price tag. They typically take extra time to plan, more time to build and install. Often they may incidentally require the addition of other scopes of work to be completed that a homeowner might not have anticipated.

A great example might be custom appliances in a kitchen like a built-in gas range top and custom range hood. While a typical home owner might expect to pay a little more for these upgraded appliances their “true cost” likely will not be expected as most homeowners will likely not anticipate extra costs associated with their appliance selection.

  1. Cabinets must be custom built to fit specific range top and range fan
  2. Gas line will need to be run for new gas range.
  3. Range fan exhaust venting ducts will likely need to be enlarged to accommodate extra CFM of new larger fan meaning HVAC work.
  4. Because the new fan exhausts so much air a make-up air system may need to be installed on the furnace as a mechanism to draw in new air while the range fan is exhausting air.
  5. Extra install time & labor for the appliance.
Home addition sample

While the average home owner was expecting to pay an extra $2,000.00-$3,000.00 for these appliances over and above the cost of a typical range and range fan they may not have expected the other costs listed above which could range from $2000.00 – $7,000.00 bring our total upgrade cost for the appliances up to as much as $10,000.00.

It should also be mentioned that because custom features or items take longer to order, build and install you can expect that the schedule will need to be adjusted to accommodate.

Finally, as anything truly custom is by definition not mass produced, cookie cutter, “standard” or “typical” there may be unexpected fitment issues or other hiccups. To some extent this is to be expected. Custom features will have custom issues. A good contractor will sort them out but you will need to be patient while they are doing so.

Are You Ready for a Renovation?

Designing & Planning for your Renovation

Thorough design & planning is essential to the success of any renovation. A carefully planned renovation can be the difference between a beautiful final finished product and the home of your dream or a haphazard and crude facelift to your home which fails to meet your expectation. The planning & design work will also affect the schedule of the project. An incomplete or poorly designed plan will inevitably lead to schedule delays and possible extra costs. If all details are not sorted before construction begins they will need to be figured out on site resulting in small delays. A worse scenario is that certain build features are incorrectly located or overlooked entirely . Many of the finishing items in your home require rough-in installations that happen earlier in the project. These could be plumbing, electrical, HVAC, structural or basic design. If these are not placed precisely at the earlier stages of construction you may find repairs and replacement are required later in the project causing major costly delays.  Electrical examples could include a beautiful set of pendent lights located oddly off-center over your kitchen island or an electrical plug for your fridge that is now buried behind the adjacent cabinet or a missing control wire for you range fan. Similar problems could occur with the plumbing and HVAC system of your home as well. Catching these problems near the end of the project often mean taking 1,2,3,4… ?? steps backwards before moving forward again.

Exterior - home addition
Exterior - new addition
STB Perspectives architectural rendering

Many people also underestimate the time required to properly design & plan for a renovation. As it is crucial for the success or your renovation you will want to allow yourself adequate time so start early. In a major renovation or addition to a house you will likely have to start with drafting and building plans. With a very simple design for a modest renovation this may take as little as 2-3 weeks. With a larger scale project, more complex designs or a scenario where multiple amendments are required before the plans are finalized this could take 2-3 months. Once the building plans are complete your project may require engineering, and surveyed plot plans which will take 2-3 weeks. Once all this paperwork is complete you can submit for the necessary permits. Depending on your local permitting office, the time of year and their current processing time this could take anywhere from 2 weeks – 2+ months with the average being about 6 weeks.

Outdoor living space, fireplace
Modern custom kitchen
Full kitchen

Our total planning time then could be as little as 2 months to as much as 6+ months. If your project is weather sensitive meaning portions of the project must be completed during our Canadian building season (summer) you will want to allow for this. If you plan to break ground on you project in spring or early summer you should be starting your planning as early as the fall before and no later than February.

As many people do not anticipate the time required for design and planning they often get off to a later start than is optimal. To get you back on track a committed design team may be able to streamline and expedite portions of the planning stages but they will then be relying on you to do your part by being quick and decisive with feedback and decisions through the process.

 

How do you start planning your renovation or remodelling project?

How do I establish a budget for my renovation project?

How long will my renovation project take?

How long will the planning portion of my remodelling project take?

Basements

A basement development can add significant usable space to your home for a relatively small investment. At an average cost of 1/3 to ½ the cost per square foot of the rest of your home a basement development is also the affordable way to add extra living space.

Home theater space

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