Renovating? Like anything, it can seem like an insurmountable task however if you draw on the best advice from an army of skilled professionals in the know, that seemingly impossible task starts to materialise in front on your eyes, not only in your head.
1. Put it down on paper
To quote the words of celebrity interior stylist and judge from The Block, Darren Palmer “Always write a brief pre-reno, both for yourself and any tradesmen that details what you’re trying to achieve and why, what you want to spend, what goes in, what needs to come out, who uses the spaces and what they use them for, timeframes and anything else you may need to refer back to whenever you have to make a decision.”
2. Do your research
There may be planning and site restrictions that seriously curtail the design and scale of your project. Your local councils can provide with information that could save you a lot of dollars and heartache down the track. Remember that major renovations could require council approval, especially if you are adding substantial rooms, floors or outdoor structures – so check before you start!
3. Get your numbers right
The old adage of obtaining three quotes still rings true. Do you research on local trades and then get your quotes, making sure to ask what the margin for increases could be. You need to ensure you factor an adequate slush of funds for worst case scenarios or material increases.
Go over your estimated costs before going to council or contracting a builder. If you need to be increase your budget you have time to make the right call or even the chance to pull back. This is where detailed plans and clear timelines are invaluable, and indeed crucial, for staying within budget.
We all want the dream however it pays to be realistic – having a first and second choice for materials and finishes will ensure that you are prepared if you do need to go the cheaper route, without sacrificing on style.
4. Set a budget and stick to it!
Rule of thumb, you should spend no more than two per cent of your home’s value on the kitchen, and around $10,000 to $15,000 on your bathrooms – of course size and style may increase these costs although if you are renovating for profit, these are great guides. Granted, there will always be the unknowns such as rewiring or asbestos removal so a contingency fund is a good idea. Approximately $25K is a good number that can see you out of trouble.
5. Consider what goes on behind the scenes
To professionally design and plan for a major, new build can easily take a few months. Your architect or interior designer has to come up with the design, approach several builders to get it costed and lodge the paperwork with council for approval. You will need to take this into consideration and coordinate with tradesmen.
6. Start with the kitchen.
When tackling a whole house overhaul, we usually start with the kitchen, living areas and bathrooms, as these are the big-ticket items that cost the most and will be used the most often. It’s vital to make sure these key areas have fully resolved and functional designs and layouts. For bathrooms and kitchens, budget on at least six weeks for design and specification, four to six weeks for ordering and organising trades. Once on site, you can realistically anticipate around four weeks to completion. While on bathrooms, designing the floor plan it’s a good idea to plan looking in from the door. Remember, it’s never nice to look directly at the loo. Consider having your vanity or a feature bath as the first thing guests see.
7. Leave it to the experts – and treat them well!
When it comes to DIY work some things are best left to the professionals. The obvious areas of expertise are electrical, plumbing, structural building works and tiling in wet areas that require falls in drains. Incorrect drainage can lead to expensive problems in the future. In fact, best leave tiling alone altogether. Ever seen that expensive car with the DIY tinting job full of bubbles? You don’t want that reminder with your expensive bathroom. While on the subject of wanting that great end result – treat your tradies well and pay them on time. When they’re happy and paid properly, they respect you and want to do a good job for you. Coffee and tea, cool drinks on a hot day and perhaps some doughnuts or banana bread are an investment of a few dollars that may have thousand dollar returns in a million dollar-looking job.
8. Check that your professionals are professionals
Now, we said to be nice to your tradies, and checking their licences and qualifications does not qualify you as rude. An experienced tradesperson will volunteer this information on their quote and not take offence at you asking these questions. If you encounter opposition and an argument then you have your answer. Just remember, doing a job twice because of bad or illegal workmanship is expensive and end may even delay or end your renovating dreams.
Check out your chosen trade’s Google and Facebook reviews and ask for testimonials and pictures of past work.
9. Roofing and flooring
Roof tiles are a low-maintenance option that offers sound reduction, insulation benefits, and fire and wind-resistance to your property. You have a choice of terracotta, ceramic and concrete variations.
A whole look can be achieved with a flooring upgrade. Floating floorboards or a timber floor replacement can give your home a complete facelift.
Try and source tradespeople and other professionals from your local area. As a resident of places such as Glen Innes, Tenterfield and Armidale, word of mouth can be a very effective way to land that quality team of tradies.
If they are being recommended locally, it means they have earned that good reputation from doing a better than adequate job. Remember, a bad job will travel faster than a good job on the bush telegram, so consider sticking with what as well as whom you know.
10. Waste Matters
While we are talking local, here is a helpful resource provided by New England Waste to help you order the right size skip bin. Wondering what skip is best? Check out the Skip Bin Comparison Chart as a general rule-of-thumb and click on the Skip Bin Comparison Guide for even more detailed information. Malcolm Lancaster is on hand to get the right skip bin to you.
About New England Waste
New England Waste services the Armidale, Uralla, Glen Innes, Tenterfield, Guyra and areas and in between with an extensive range of skip bins, hook bins, septic services and port-a-loos. Family own and operated since 1979 by the Lancaster family, great service, expert solutions and great value are at the heart of New England Waste. See our range here:
Want more information? Contact us here
Words by: F. Rafaneli