Cost of Home Renovation in Canada

Many people have the romantic notion of taking on a dilapidated property and renovating to create their perfect home. There are countless TV shows, youtube channels, Instagram account about people doing just that.

It’s not often, however, that people talk in detail about the cost of those renovations.

There are different reasons for renovating your house. Maybe you’ve bought a doer-upper to sell and release a decent increase in capital. In this case, you want the finish and quality to impress, but also to keep the costs to a minimum.

Or maybe you have bought what will be your dream forever home once you’ve renovated. In this case, you still don’t want to spend every penny you have on it but you might be willing to go that little extra to make it exactly what you want.

This is what makes it a little more difficult to give you completely accurate costs for your renovation, as the motivations and the amount you want, or need to may vary. 

What we can do is give you a good idea of the average prices, and the range, of renovation so when you sit down to put together that all-important budget you have a fair idea of what to allocate where.

Some things to consider before renovating your home

As we’ve said, there are a number of reasons why you might be renovating, but whether you are doing the house up to sell, or to live in, there are a few things to consider:

Your budget

What do you actually want (or can afford) to spend on the renovation?

This is important to know before you go in as it gives you a clear target to aim for and adds constraints to make sure you don’t have any nasty surprises later down the line.

What to focus your time and money on?

You may have certain rooms that you want to focus on or a certain feature that you want to work around (original old beams in the house for example).  These need to be considered so that you can weigh your spending accordingly.

If for example your kitchen is really important, but you’re not too bothered about your bathroom then you can spend more on getting the kitchen of your dreams and spending less on the bathroom, rather than being completely balanced.

What increases your properties value the most

If you are looking to sell the house and you only have a limited budget, then it is worth understanding what effects certain renovations have on the value of the property.  This way you can focus your spending on those areas to maximize your ROI (return on investment).

Please bear in mind that this is a very rough guide, but let’s have a look at the average ROI you can get for various additions and improvements to your house:

  • Skylight – 0% to 25%
  • Air conditioning – 25% to 75%
  • Painting – 50% to 100%
  • Energy Efficiency – 60%
  • Window and Doors – 50% to 75%
  • Bathroom – 75% – 100%
  • Kitchen – 75% – 100%
  • Furnace Heating – 50% – 75%
  • Landscaping – 25% – 50%
  • Basement – 50% to 75%
  • Fencing – 25% – 50%
  • Swimming pool – 0% – 25%

As you can see there are areas of your renovation that you can focus on that gives you a much better ROI.  Renovating your basement, for example, gives a much better return than adding an extra amenity like a swimming pool.

Estimated Costs of Renovating a Home

Let’s have a look at some of the most common renovations areas of the house and garden and the average costs to do them:

Kitchen Renovation (Approx. $25k – $50k)

A new kitchen can take a sizeable chunk out of your renovation budget, no matter what size of budget you have.  It is, however, one of the most important rooms, not only for prospective buyers but also, usually, for you.  The kitchen is the heart of your home after all.

Kitchens do come with a steeper price tag compared to other areas of the house and in many ways, this is understandable with units, islands, appliances, splashback tiling, extractors, etc to consider.

According to homestars.com, the average cost of a kitchen renovation is about $195 per square foot, which for your average home would be about $30,944.  This is highly variable, however, depending on what you want to do.

It is recommended to spend between 5% and 15% of your home’s valuation on your kitchen renovation to really maximize the resale value.

Bathroom Renovation (Approx. $15k+)

Again, the bathroom can take a sizeable chunk of your budget if you’re not careful.  The bathroom, however, mostly comes down to the finish that you want for it, rather than it being inherently the most expensive renovation.

If you are wanting a complete refit with separate bath and shower and underfloor heating that all require substantial plumbing work, then you could be looking at upward of $40k for the renovation.

Your standard, no-frills, bathroom however should cost around $15k.

Basement Renovation (Approx. $10k+)

If you have a basement and are wanting to renovate it to create a bit of extra living space, then great!  But be aware that the scale of the job might be a bit more than your average budget can handle depending on what you are wanting to do.

If you are going for a full renovation that requires digging out and new foundations to create more height, then your numbers can skyrocket well beyond $50k.

If you’re just looking at a bit of paint and some new flooring, however, then the costs can be much more reasonable.

On average, however, we’d recommend budgeting between $20k and $50k.

Landscaping (Approx. $5k+)

Landscaping is something that is often overlooked when putting your renovation budget together, but the costs can add up quickly depending on your needs, and arguable your landscape is an important feature of how your house looks and presents.

Landscaping is also an area that people tend to think they can take on themselves but getting a professional in can make all the difference.

The size of the garden also makes a big difference. But to give you an idea of some costs – a new deck and fresh fencing can cost around $5k, whereas a complete overhaul and restructure of your garden can cost anywhere up to $28k and beyond.

Energy Efficient Upgrades (It varies dramatically!)

The importance of making your house energy efficient is a growing concern among many house renovators, and rightly so. Our environmental impact starts at home, and we should be doing everything we can to minimize it.

The costs for doing this can vary massively, however depending on what you are wanting to do.

Installing new windows with double or triple glazing can cost upward of $10k, or installing a new furnace can cost as much as $5k.  Solar panels or wind turbines take you much higher again, whereas simple small changes like new LED light bulbs and weatherstripping doors and windows can cost less than $100.

Whatever you are wanting to do to make your house more energy efficient you should do your research and budget accordingly, rather than assigning an arbitrary figure to it and hope.

Knowing your goals for the house and taking the time to lay out a clear budget for yourself is essential when it comes to renovating. 

Our guide here outlines the average cost of home renovations in Canada, but personal taste can have a big impact on the bottom line, so doing your research and being as accurate as you can before you start spending will help avoid an unexpected bill later on.

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