Are you wondering how much your home renovation project will set you back? While home improvements are fun and exciting, they can also come with unexpected costs if you’re not fully prepared.
On average, low-range homes can cost between $15,000 and $40,000 to renovate, mid-range homes can cost between $40,000 and $75,000, and high-end homes can cost up to $150,000 or more, according to a survey from Homeguide.com.
The cost to renovate your home ultimately depends on how much you want to renovate. Below, I’ll outline some of the average project costs, depending on what parts of your home you want to renovate.
Are Home Renovations Expensive?
Home renovations can vary significantly and depend on several factors, such as:
- Your renovation budget
- Cosmetic upgrades vs. structural upgrades
- Full-house renovation vs. one room
- The cost of hiring a qualified contractor
- The materials used
- … and more
If you’re planning a complete overhaul, be prepared to sink significant money into your project. Here, you may need to borrow against your home’s equity or whole life insurance policy.
On the other hand, a simple kitchen or bathroom renovation may be covered by tapping into your savings or taking out a small personal loan.
Generally speaking, home renovations are charged by the square foot. The cost per square foot usually depends on how specialized the skillset is.
For example, painting typically costs far less per square foot than a bathroom renovation, which requires extreme attention to detail, along with plumbing and masonry skills.
Home Renovation Costs In Canada: Average Costs
Although house renovation costs can vary significantly from one project to the next, I’ve done my best to provide some averages and price ranges, using surveys from those who’ve previously renovated their homes.
Below, I’ll detail what prices to expect for:
- Bathroom renovation
- Kitchen renovation
- Basement renovation
- Swimming pool renovation
- Garage renovation
- Home repaint
There are other more specific renovations and upgrades we could dive into. However, these are some of the most common, so it should give you an idea of what to expect, so you can get the most value from your home renovation.
Bathroom Renovation Cost
Bathroom renovations are one of the first home upgrade projects that homeowners embark on. Bathrooms tend to be smaller than other rooms, which makes them a good place to start.
Also, many people have a second bathroom that they can make use of while their primary bathroom is being upgraded, which makes it a convenient choice as well.
On average, bathroom renovations cost between $5,000 and $25,000.
It really depends on the size of your bathroom and what types of upgrades you’re doing. Here are some of the average costs of bathroom items (not including installation):
- Toilet: $150 – $500
- Sink: $180 – $750
- New tile flooring: $10 – $25 per square foot
- Bathtub: $1,000+
- New shower/bath: $5,000+
Custom walk-in showers with customized shower heads can cost upwards of $10,000 or more, while basic apartment-style showers may only cost around $1,200.
Remember, none of this accounts for the cost of installation. Tile installation is usually charged per square foot, in addition to the cost of the tiles themselves. Shower and sink installation may also require advanced plumbing work, which can run you more.
Kitchen Renovation Cost
New or improved kitchens can make a great impression on your guests and might even inspire you to cook more meals at home. On average, renovating your kitchen can cost anywhere between $10,000 and $50,000, per Homeguide.com.
Kitchen renovations should cost between 5% and 15% of your home’s estimated value, and total renovation costs should come out to around $195 per square foot.
One of the most straightforward ways to upgrade your kitchen is to simply replace the old appliances and install a new refrigerator, range, microwave, etc.
As far as appliances go, here’s what to expect:
- Refrigerator: $700 – $3,000
- Range: $700 – $15,000
- Microwave: $150 – $400
- Wine cooler: $300 – $5,000
Custom cabinetry is another common upgrade for kitchen renovations.
If you’re looking for a cheap option, you may just want to repaint your cabinets and upgrade the hardware (handles, hinges, etc.).
If you have a bit more money to spend or your old cabinets are too worn down to fix, the next best option is to replace the old cabinets with new pre-fabricated cabinets. This typically costs around $5,000 or more, depending on the size of your kitchen.
If you really have money to spend, then you might consider hiring a carpenter to design and build custom cabinets. This is, by far, the most expensive option and may cost up to $10,000 or more.
Lastly, kitchen renovations often involve replacing the flooring with custom tiling, hardwood, or laminate, which can cost anywhere from $10 to $40 per square foot to install.
The kitchen often serves as the home’s centrepiece and is a place where people congregate, cook, and spend a lot of time. This means that kitchens can be a huge determining factor in how quickly you can sell your home as well.
The average recovery rate (how much you get back from your investment after selling your home) ranges between 53.5% and 81.1%, with low-range homes seeing the largest recovery rate, per Zillow.
Basement Renovation Costs
Depending on what type of house you have, a basement renovation may be in order. With easy access to climate-controlled storage units, many Canadians are opting to convert their basement storage into complete rooms.
Depending on how complex your project is, the average cost of a basement renovation ranges between $20,000 and $50,000, according to Homeguide.com.
Some of the most common ideas I’ve seen for basement renovations include:
- Game room
- Movie theatre/gaming room
- Study or office space
- Detached room for short-term rentals (Airbnb)
- Wine cellar
Unless you’re going for a super industrial theme, most basement renovations start with a complete repaint of the otherwise bare concrete walls. From here, you may choose to add flooring and new ceiling lighting to brighten up the space and make it more homely.
Since basements are typically open floor concepts, some homeowners choose to add walls to create separation. Furthermore, complete renovations may involve adding a secondary bathroom or shower unit, which can incur expensive plumbing costs.
Swimming Pool Renovation Costs
Recently, I wrote a piece outlining the average cost to buy and set up a new swimming pool in your backyard. Installing a brand-new swimming pool in a backyard that doesn’t already have one can cost an average of $4,000 to $60,000, depending on the size and complexity of the system.
It’s not uncommon for super high-end pools to cost over $100,000 for features such as heated water, a built-in jacuzzi, fountains, ambient sound and lighting, and advanced filtration systems.
Pool renovations are a bit of a different story, though.
Here, you’ll have several different options, including:
- Refinishing and repainting your pool (cheapest option)
- Redesigning and rebuilding the surrounding pool deck
- Completely ripping out the old pool from the ground and putting a new one in its place (most expensive option)
The average 1,000-square-foot pool costs at least $6,500 to refinish and goes up in price based on the size and complexity of the job. Also, remember that you’ll need to completely drain and refill the pool, which can incur substantial water charges.
Garage Renovation Cost
Garage renovations are somewhat similar to basement renovations and can vary a lot depending on how you plan on using the garage.
A simple garage renovation may simply involve repainting the garage floor, upgrading the ceiling lights, and adding some cabinetry and storage systems. This is fairly simple and will probably cost under $5,000.
Those who are mechanically minded may even choose to add a hydraulic lift, which can range between $5,000 and $30,000.
If you want to turn your garage into a game room or repurpose it as a bedroom, then you’ll have to put more money into the project. The average cost to renovate and convert a garage into a room is around $15,000, according to Homeadvisor.com.
Cost To Repaint Your House
Most homes need a fresh coat of paint once every seven to ten years. In Canada, the harsh winter climate can wear down even the best paint jobs, and you may find yourself needing a new coat of paint after five or six years.
The average cost to repaint a home is around $3.50 per square foot, according to Forbes.
The average cost of repainting a home in Canada varies depending on the size of the home, the type of paint used, and the number of painters needed. Some factors that affect the cost of repainting a home include:
- Size of the home
- The type of paint used
- The number of painters needed
- The complexity of the job
You may be able to repaint a room in your house for as little as $1,000, while full interior repaints can cost upwards of $10,000 or more.
Exterior paint jobs are similar. Small, one-storey cottages are a lot cheaper and easier to paint than two-storey homes or homes that are on stilts. The more ladders and scaffolding are involved, the higher the risk of an accident, which usually comes with a higher price.
Some painting companies charge per square foot, while others charge based on the number of man-hours that go into the job. Larger jobs may also require an upfront deposit to help cover the cost of paint and materials.
The cost of repainting a home also varies depending on the home’s location and the climate. Repainting a home can increase its value by making it more attractive to potential buyers. In addition, repainting a home can protect the home from damage caused by weather and insects.
Setting Your Home Renovation Budget
If you don’t plan properly, large renovation projects can quickly get out of hand. Unexpected costs, sudden home repairs, or difficulties with your floor plan can drastically increase the overall cost of renovating your home.
This is especially true if you’re renovating a heritage home or your project involves some architectural complexity.
Due to the high cost of renovations, most homeowners finance their home renovation projects with a loan. When looking at financing options, it’s important to budget for more than your calculated expenses.
It’s better to have some money left over after your project is complete than not having enough and applying for a second loan. If you have funds left over once your renovation is complete, you can pay it back toward the loan’s principal balance.
Regarding home renovation projects, I recommend setting clear goals for yourself. Otherwise, you may get caught up in your emotions and overspend.
Appliance salesmen may try to upsell you on more expensive models, and contractors may try to suggest more costly upgrades. Setting a budget for yourself ensures that you aren’t as easily swayed.
For example, if you want to renovate your kitchen, you may set a price limit on how much you will spend on appliances, set a price range on flooring, and get several quotes for upgrading your cabinetry.
Another thing to factor in is that you may be eligible for certain tax credits offered by the federal government as well as your provincial government.
This is often the case regarding energy-efficient upgrades, such as cooling systems, water heaters, insulated windows, solar panels, etc. In some cases, you may even be eligible to receive government grants.
To learn more, I recommend speaking with a local financial advisor who knows the ins and outs of your region’s tax credits and building incentives.
Are Home Renovations A Good Investment?
Whether or not home renovations are a good investment depends on the type of renovation, the cost of the renovation, the expected return on investment (ROI), and the purpose of the renovation.
Home renovations that increase the home’s functionality or improve its curb appeal tend to have a higher ROI than purely cosmetic renovations.
Kitchen and bathroom renovations, which can increase the home’s functionality and appeal, are generally considered to have a higher ROI. Purely cosmetic renovations, such as painting or replacing flooring, may not have as high of an ROI, though.
If you plan on selling the home in the near future, you may want to focus on essential structural renovations before moving on to cosmetic upgrades.
That being said, not everybody renovates their home to increase its value.
If you’re already in your “forever home,” then you might not be as concerned with how cost-effective your project is. Instead, you may choose to renovate areas of the house that bring you the most enjoyment and allow you to truly love the space you live in.
Regardless of why you’re renovating your home, you should obtain quotes from several contractors and compare them before starting your project. This will help to ensure a fair price for the work that’s being done.
A good rule of thumb to remember is that good work doesn’t come cheap, and cheap work usually isn’t good (or may take far longer than you expect).
If you feel that you can’t fully afford the renovation you’re planning, I suggest waiting until you can afford it rather than trying to force it and hiring a low-quality contractor.
Conclusion – Are Home Renovations Worth It?
Renovating your home can bring new life into an old space, making it more modern and appealing to buyers. It may also increase the resale value of your home, allowing you to recoup some of your initial investment.
One of the best ways to start saving for your home renovation project is with a high-interest savings account. These accounts allow your money to grow with a far healthier interest rate than those offered by traditional banks.
Keep on reading to see my list of Canada’s top real estate investing options!