How to Renovate a House

How to Renovate a House

Preparing for Renovation

Before you start any renovation project, it is best that you first make a plan for what you want to achieve. You have to decide what changes you want to make to the house.

One way you can do this is by walking through the house with a notebook or clipboard. Take note of all the renovations you want to make.

In addition, you also need to assess the current condition of the house. An important aspect to look at is its structural integrity. You also have to look at the condition of the roof, windows and siding.

Then determine what repairs need to be made along with the renovations. List down those that are urgent since they represent a safety hazard, such as defective wiring, as well as repairs that will eventually result in more serious problems if they are not immediately addressed, like a leaky roof.

Another consideration is: who will perform the renovations? Are you able to do some or all of them yourself, or will you need to hire people? If you want professionals to work on your house, you should start looking for contractors.

It is particularly important to find contractors that you can trust, since you will be entrusting a lot of work to them. If the renovation goes wrong, then you will have wasted a lot of money and time.

Unless you feel comfortable supervising their work, you might want to hire a project manager. You may also want to bring them in earlier in the process and ask them to choose contractors. They may be in a better position to find ones that you can trust and who will do a good job.

Many homeowners fail to take into account that some of your home renovations may require you to apply for permits.

“Renovating a house is a costly and time-consuming process. But it is ultimately a rewarding one since at the end you will have a home that is just like new.”

Note that even something as simple as setting up a fence may require permits, since some municipalities may have height restrictions.

In addition, you might want to take out specialized renovations insurance that will protect you if something goes wrong. Your main contractor should also be insured since this will ensure that liabilities such as damages on the site and legal expenses are covered.

Check with your local government as to what permits you need. Note that if you are renovating to sell the house, the lack of permits may cause complications or even result in the cancellation of the sale.

In addition, you might want to take out specialized renovations insurance that will protect you if something goes wrong. Your main contractor should also be insured since this will ensure that liabilities such as damages on the site and legal expenses are covered.

You also need to set a budget for your renovations. You have to decide how much you can afford so that you can plan accordingly.

Since the house will be unlivable while renovations are ongoing, you have to make plans as to where to stay until the project is finished. Is there a part of the house where you can stay at, or will you have to find outside accommodations? Or can you just sleep in a sleeping bag while the house is being worked on?

Starting the Process

When you are ready to begin work, make a schedule of the renovations and repairs that need to be done. Prioritize repairs that will prevent deterioration as well as works that will stabilize the house’s structure. In addition, make sure that jobs that will affect other jobs are performed first, i.e. wiring should be finished before walls are plastered over.


Here are some things that you should prioritize before you begin renovations:


  • Make repairs to the foundation to ensure the house does not collapse while you’re working. For instance, you should repair weakened carrying beams, joists and walls.
  • Repairing or replacing the roof to ensure the interior of the house does not get wet.
  • Replacing windows that have serious damage
  • Replace or repair siding only if it is so damaged that it allows water to enter; otherwise, you can fix it later


Once you have ensured the structural integrity of the house, you can start demolishing areas that will be renovated. Make sure you have a large container or enough trash bags for the waste.

If you are planning to stay in the house during renovations, start by demolishing only the parts that will be worked on. Otherwise, you can demolish as much as is needed.


The next stage of renovation is performing structural carpentry. This means completing work that will support work such as building new walls or moving existing ones, creating new doors or removing existing ones and adding beams to support increased weight on an upper floor.


While the walls are open, you should install HVAC ductwork for central air conditioning and heating. In addition, you will also run new electrical and plumbing systems, as well as installing fiberglass insulation in the ceiling and walls. Inspectors should also come to inspect your plumbing and electrical to ensure everything is all right.


Once all these systems have been installed, the walls will be closed with drywall. Before this is done, however, the electrical inspector will conduct a final check.


Sheets of drywall are hung and then drywall compound is applied. Once dry, carpenters sand the surface until smooth. If they are not satisfied, they may repeat the process until the surface is seamless. When the walls are finished, new or replacement windows are installed.

Finishing Touches

After the structure is completed, the next stages involve finishing touches to the interior. Bookshelves and other built-in elements are installed and fine carpentry work such as trim around doors and windows and baseboards is completed.


The interior surfaces of the house are then finished. The walls are painted and wallpaper is hung. Finally, the flooring is installed. These last two stages may also be interchanged depending on what the contractor thinks is best.


Gutters and siding are installed on the outside of the house. This work is performed last because there is the risk that siding may be damaged if windows and doors are punched out.

Final Words

The key to success of your renovation project is careful planning. Never rush into a project until you have a plan for it. Of course, there may be unforeseen problems that will crop up, but if you have a plan, you will be in a better position to deal with them.