Budgeting for home renovation costs

It has become apparent that people struggle with knowing how the cost/value of home decorating translates to them and I wonder if it is the fault of our industry for not giving consumers pricing that is easy to understand.

Car dealerships and real estate agents are great at ‘blocking’ prices so you know exactly what you are paying for in one lump sum but how is it possible with interior finishes when there are so many variables?

The sad truth – it is difficult to completely estimate interior costs but it is a good rule of thumb to follow the basic formula that builders use.

Builders value flooring at $2.50-$3/sq. ft. for carpet and vinyl, $6/sq. ft. for laminate and $12 – $15/sq. ft. for hardwood and tile.

This is a straightforward formula to help you calculate costs in your home with one hitch – the amount of prep work to be considered if you are doing a renovation.

The only way to efficiently calculate prep work in an existing home when you are changing materials (i.e. – removing carpet and replacing with hardwood) is to have a professional estimate done in the home. This will save you costly mistakes and hours of lost time possibly choosing or purchasing the incorrect product for your home.

If you are considering new countertops – budget for $50/sq. ft. for arborite and $100-$150 for quartz and granite. Measure your countertop in big rectangles (forgetting about angles and curves) and add 10% to measurements.

Backsplash tile will cost about $50/sq. ft. which allows budget for removing existing tile and money to put glitzier mosaics on the wall which is a great place to add pizzazz without costing too much money. “If you are looking for new walls to be constructed, budget for $8 to $10 per sq. ft. plus poly and insulation,” says Jason Heisler of Fresh Renovations.

Rooms can be measured easily if you keep dividing them into manageable squares and add that extra percentage for what I like to call ‘the unknown’.

Window coverings give people the most trouble for pricing and I will aim to simplify this for you.

Take the width and height of your window in feet and multiply to get square footage.

Blinds will range from $15/sq. ft. (basic metal mini blinds) to $80/sq. ft. (Roman shades, high end fabric room darkening cellular shades), custom draperies start at $1,000 per window.

Prefab draperies and rods will start at $250 per window if you are looking for a quick and inexpensive way to dress up a space.

Are you still ready to forage ahead? If the numbers haven’t scared you off then it’s probably time to go shopping!

If you have a case of spring home improvement fever don’t worry! Relax, drink plenty of liquids and contemplate the process that is in store for you.

A few measurements and some simple math equations should get the budgeting process started for you and make the whole process easier.

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre.

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