Whenever it’s time for a renovation project, the first thing that most homeowners have to consider is the cost. These days, it seems like even a simple project to replace some drywall costs an arm and a leg. But, with a little bit of planning — and by working with your contractor to prevent damage and cut costs — you can save quite a bit. And that means your money will go further towards getting the results you want. Let’s look at some strategies I have for managing the costs of renovations. 

Consider the Scope

The biggest mistake many homeowners make is not taking the time to understand what they are trying to do. You, not your contractor, largely determine the scope of work for any renovation. 

So, understanding the difference between making repairs or performing renovations is essential. For instance, running a skim coat of mud to repair sheetrock surface damage is different from replacing it. So, think carefully about what you want out of your project. 

Even if you don’t know much about construction, that’s fine. Just ask lots of questions when meeting with your contractor, and explore all the possibilities. 

Scope of Work Questions to Ask:

  • Can it be repaired, or is replacement necessary?
  • Does it make sense to do other work at the same time? 
  • If you’re exposing old pipes or wiring, are there repairs to do before closing things back up?
  • Will the result be perfect, or will I still need to do more work?

Do Your Research

costs of renovations

Whatever you aim to do around your home, spend plenty of time researching before even contacting a contractor for an estimate. You should have at least a basic understanding of the work involved and the process for performing it. This ensures that you will ask challenging questions that will keep the contractor on their toes.

Then, make sure you understand the costs of the renovations materials involved. For instance, if you are looking to install a new floating floor, there is a vast range of prices for different types of wood. 

The preparation for the job and the installation itself is the same no matter what wood product is going down on top of it. You can, however, spend anywhere from $300 for an economy flooring product to many thousands of dollars for a premium hardwood. If you are staying in the home,

Chip In

Sometimes, you can save money by doing some of the work yourself. For instance, if you’re gutting and renovating a bathroom, you can do the demolition yourself. You don’t need much skill to do so, and it will save your contractor time. That will save you money. 

By taking this approach, you’ll also have better transparency of ancillary costs. In the same example, you won’t be relying on a contractor to bring in a dumpster, so they can’t up-charge for it. 

This same strategy applies to other phases of a project too. Consider buying your materials, especially ones that are easily transported, like paint. This move will also give you a bit more awareness and control of the quality of materials used. 

Avoid Damage

costs of renovations

One of the easiest ways to drive up the costs of renovations projects is to allow avoidable damage to occur. 

Work with your contractor to ensure that you protect your home from potential damage by using drop cloths, plastic barriers, and products to cover surfaces and contain dust and debris. 


Always use construction mats to keep your lush green grass safe from vehicles. And don’t forget that your yard is very easy to ruin with construction traffic. 

And, even if there won’t be trucks driving on your lawn, consider that a few trips with a heavily loaded wheelbarrow will also leave ruts and damage your grass. 

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