If you’re used to watching home renovation shows on channels like the DIY Network and HGTV, they make home renovations feel quick and easy, condensing them into 30 and 60-minute specials with spectacular results at the end. These types of shows will lull you into a false sense of security, removing the “boring” or “difficult” parts and throwing in a couple of problems that the hosts always somehow manage to magically fix, making them the hero and showing off their gorgeous results.

The fact of the matter is, there is a lot that goes into a home renovation, and it’s not all glitz and glamour. It’s important to know what you’re getting into before you pick up your sledgehammer, and gain a solid understanding of the steps you need to take to complete the renovation.

1. Design And Planning

Renovations can’t begin without having a plan. You should have a general idea of how the project is going to be completed, and how much money you think it will cost based on your estimates for materials. Remember, it’s okay to change your plans and budgets, but without the proper preparation, you will more likely find yourself going over budget due to unforeseen circumstances.

When planning your project, you should have a list of mini-tasks that you either feel comfortable doing yourself or feel you need a contractor to complete instead. Find contractors and subcontractors who can do that job for you, along with any permits you will need before you start building.

2. Check For Fundamental Repairs

Major structural problems can render renovations pointless, especially if there is a potential for collapse or water damage. Areas of concern may include weakened walls, joists, or carrying beams, a damaged roof, and critically damaged windows or siding.

3. Demolition

If you are living in your house during the renovation, you may do small bits of demolition at a time. However, it is generally recommended to find alternative living space and demolish as much as possible, as it allows all construction waste to be removed at once. Be aware of lead-based paints or asbestos in older buildings, as they are considered hazardous today.

4. Structural Carpentry

Just like your foundation, it’s important to have a solid structure to build on. Knowing how to move or construct new walls, adding support beams, creating new doorways, or adding frames for new windows or enlarging existing ones are all considered part of this process. This is critical to the safety of your home and should be completed with the help of a professional if you find yourself out of your element. It’s always better to have a professional that knows what they’re doing than to have your home collapse around you.

5. HVAC Ductwork, Electrical, and Plumbing

The walls and the ceiling are open, now is the time to put everything you need in them. Call in your professionals and inspectors to ensure this step is done properly.

6. Windows

You may need new or replacement windows, especially after extensive modifications. Take the time to discover the type of windows you may need, as some are rated higher than others for energy-efficiency and warranty.

7. Insulation And Drywall

Insulation is the last thing you need before you close up the walls, and should go in your ceiling as well. Insulation spoils quickly, so it should be sealed up with drywall fast. After a second inspection for electrical and plumbing, drywall is hung, applied with compound, and sanded smooth after drying, repeating as necessary for a seamless finish.

8. Finishing The Walls

Fine carpentry like baseboards, moulding, window and door trim and built-in elements like bookcases should be installed, followed by paint or wallpaper, and wood staining.

9. Flooring

Flooring is the last thing you should do for your interior, as this tends to be what gets beat up the most in the renovation process. You can choose between laminate, solid or engineered hardwood, or tiles as some of the most popular options.

10. Finishing The Exterior

It is here that you can safely put on siding and gutters, as they are less likely to be ripped out by adding windows or doors.

11. Additions And Auxiliaries

Sunrooms, swimming pools, detached garages, the list goes on!

While it may be tempting to remodel your home yourself, it’s always important to know your limits. Georgio Lolos and the HiLife Builders Corporation have over 25 years of experience building quality homes in the GTA. If you need a contractor, home renovator, or architect in the Toronto, Vaughan and Richmond Hill area, give HiLife a call and start your dream renovation today!