Keeping a handle on costs during renovations

Home renovation or building projects always seem to exceed our budget expectations, don’t they? It can be so frustrating to see our costs spiraling out of control leaving us in a very difficult position because we need to finish the project but have become a prisoner to our own renovation!

Unexpected costs can cause instant stress and can also delay your project but you can prepare in advance for some unexpected charges working them into your budget. Certain products and installation methods can result in additional costs to your projects so it is good to be aware of them before your home gets torn apart.

When installing carpet, be conscious of the type of carpet you are choosing and the area of the house you are looking at installing. Patterned and berber carpets will result in more carpet being ordered (depending on pattern match) and an up charge for the pattern itself.

Also, installing carpet on stairs and on concrete floors will result in additional charges. If you have in floor heating you will need to choose an upgraded underlay such as a solid rubber or memory foam. Vinyl installation costs are quoted on new subfloor so if you are installing over existing vinyl flooring or flooring with residual adhesive you will experience additional embossing charges before new vinyl can be installed.

If you have picked your favorite paint colour and are hiring a painter to apply it to your walls, be sure to specify the type of paint you want used. It is very important if you have chosen deeper colours to ensure that your painter is quoting premium paint and that they are purchasing the line of paint you specify.

Often painters will quote a builder grade product and have your colour mixed at their ‘go to’ store – the paint pigments are not the same! Painters may also charge more for deep-based colours due to the number of coats required (keep in mind that C2 LOVO paint covers in two coats regardless of colour!).

Hardwood charges can take a moderately priced product and put your budget through the roof! Beware of stairs and hardwood installation on concrete as these two items will add a significant amount to your estimate. Steps which have an irregular shape or exposed edges can double the installation charge and can often require custom milled trim pieces. You can expect to pay $200 – $300 (per step) to install hardwood and that charge will increase if your steps have any rounded or curved edges.

Other non-standard charges include removing and disposing of any existing products, moving furniture and appliances and possibly removing baseboards. Anytime you are replacing products or furniture, there may be a charge for disposal so it is important to confirm these charges are included in your estimate.

The safest way to obtain a correct budget for your venture is to source out complete quotes from your contractors making sure to ask the above questions about surcharges. If you allow for surcharges, you can make informed decisions instead of having to choose under pressure during the project.

You can quickly go from designing your dream space to fretting about your budget in a matter of seconds – which would you rather concentrate on?

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Contact her at 403-343-7711 ext 227 or email her at

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