Home & Garden

Whole house Reno - how to start?

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  • Jul 4th, 2020 11:13 pm
[OP]
Member
Feb 13, 2017
316 posts
145 upvotes
Mississauga

Whole house Reno - how to start?

So we are living in a 30+ year old house that has never been updated before. It is about 3,000 square feet.

Our Reno list is as follows:
- entire kitchen with counter depth fridge, new cook top and separate ovens
- entire flooring for main floor
- 3 washrooms (vanities, flooring, tub, shower— the toilet is the only thing that we can salvage as we recently updated them)
- entire staircase
- popcorn ceiling removal
- paint entire house
- basement finishing (we may have to wait some time for this Reno as it’s not as urgent as the above items).

So my question is.. where do I begin?! I’ve been wanting to do this for so long but never know where to begin. The research gets overwhelming.. and it doesn’t help that we recently had a baby.

My questions:
- do I hire a general contractor or specialists for each area (kitchen, flooring, washrooms, stairs)?
- do I do it all together or break it up in chunks .. what would be most efficient cost and time wise?
- how much time am I looking at? I would have to consider staying at my moms during the process but kids start school in September so I have to keep that in mind.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

If anyone has any tried and tested contacts they can pass along I would be very grateful.
19 replies
Deal Guru
Feb 9, 2009
12368 posts
11266 upvotes
Popcorn ceiling first...it is a very messy job.

Then do upstairs (bathrooms, floor, whatever else). Bathroom first. Then flooring. You can do the kitchen at the same time too.

Once the kitchen is done, get the main level flooring and staircase done. Flooring on main floor should be last as its a heavy traffic area and dont want floors messed up by guys walking all the time.

Painting is easy and should be last and can even be done when your in the house.

I would hire separate for each. Get a specialist who does washrooms then flooring and kitchens.

Whole house gonna be a while man at least a few months. First you need to find the guys, alot of them already have jobs so you have to wait for them to be ready.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
22799 posts
21633 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
Truth ...

This is an AMBITIOUS LIST

Expect to be living in a Construction Zone for quite awhile ...
and just like EVERY Reno Project
Anticipate that it will take longer than you like / planned
And also COST MORE than you like / planned

The more you do at once ... say with a General Contractor to assist
The more it’s gonna cost you ...
but it will prob move faster and be a good investment if you hire a great Contractor who has plenty of experience hiring & scheduling trades and sourcing materials

Skilled trades vs hacks are important.

Acting as your own contractor is also possible
But time consuming ... and a learn as you go experience

In any case ...

You might want to take on this elephant in the room ... in small bites

Washrooms & Kitchens Reno’s are always BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCKS SPENT

So I would start there ... with 3 bathrooms you are fortunate in that you can do them separately (but coordinated together)
So the plans are consistent, and supplies bought in one go
But still have the luxury of having a place to shower, bathe, brush your teeth, and do your business without a complete shutdown
(Your wife will THANK YOU for this comfort)

After the bathrooms ... you can move onto the staircase.

And lastly the kitchen.

Advantage to doing the kitchen last ... is again it’s a big job.
And it really sucks to not have a kitchen set up
Personally I think I’d save it for NEXT SUMMER
Then you can cook outdoors ... and the baby will be bigger ... and eating regular foods ... and you won’t have to worry so much about refrigeration of their formula / breast milk etc

Otherwise ... do the kitchen now ... first up
And get yourself a beer / bar fridge to tide you thru the construction phase

At any rate ... kitchens & bathroom Reno’s once completed also make you feel like process is being made

Floors & Painting last
(Although when doing a Bathroom or Kitchen they both get tacked into the WHOLE ROOM Project)

NOTE - You do want to know the status of your popcorn ceiling
30 years old, you should prob be ok
But an Asbestos Test is recommended
If it comes back positive ... that’s a whole other kettle of fish
And the abatement / removal will now be the ABSOLUTE FIRST TASK on your Home Reno List

Otherwise ... do the ceilings as you do each room / paint

Flooring last, then add your mouldings / trim ... and that finishes the paint jobs

Lol, get thru all that ...
And still got money to spare
Move onto your basement

Basement dead last cuz the true value of your home is found in the regular living area ... not the basement
A basement is a nice extra ... like a garage
Or a pretty landscaped backyard

Where you actually live (cook, eat, sleep, bathe) is what good & truly matters

PS ... you got your hands full man
Esp taking this all on with a new baby ...
Gotta take small bites ... so you don’t stress out & end up choking
Whereby exhaustion finds you in the midst of a gutted house with nothing completed ...
Just everything in process
NOT GOOD
Which is why I recommend hiring a whole home Contractor
There are some well known firms in every city that does these jobs
Not cheap ... but EXCELLENT work performed
Tell us where you are and peeps can make recommendations
(really should update your RFD Profile to show some Sort of location ... Province / Region - Nearby City etc )
[OP]
Member
Feb 13, 2017
316 posts
145 upvotes
Mississauga
Wow! Thanks so much for the feedback. It definitely gives me a lot to think about.

I am in the heart of Mississauga.
[OP]
Member
Feb 13, 2017
316 posts
145 upvotes
Mississauga
I’m a female btw 🤣

Updated my location, thanks for the tip!
PointsHubby wrote: Truth ...

This is an AMBITIOUS LIST

Expect to be living in a Construction Zone for quite awhile ...
and just like EVERY Reno Project
Anticipate that it will take longer than you like / planned
And also COST MORE than you like / planned

The more you do at once ... say with a General Contractor to assist
The more it’s gonna cost you ...
but it will prob move faster and be a good investment if you hire a great Contractor who has plenty of experience hiring & scheduling trades and sourcing materials

Skilled trades vs hacks are important.

Acting as your own contractor is also possible
But time consuming ... and a learn as you go experience

In any case ...

You might want to take on this elephant in the room ... in small bites

Washrooms & Kitchens Reno’s are always BEST BANG FOR YOUR BUCKS SPENT

So I would start there ... with 3 bathrooms you are fortunate in that you can do them separately (but coordinated together)
So the plans are consistent, and supplies bought in one go
But still have the luxury of having a place to shower, bathe, brush your teeth, and do your business without a complete shutdown
(Your wife will THANK YOU for this comfort)

After the bathrooms ... you can move onto the staircase.

And lastly the kitchen.

Advantage to doing the kitchen last ... is again it’s a big job.
And it really sucks to not have a kitchen set up
Personally I think I’d save it for NEXT SUMMER
Then you can cook outdoors ... and the baby will be bigger ... and eating regular foods ... and you won’t have to worry so much about refrigeration of their formula / breast milk etc

Otherwise ... do the kitchen now ... first up
And get yourself a beer / bar fridge to tide you thru the construction phase

At any rate ... kitchens & bathroom Reno’s once completed also make you feel like process is being made

Floors & Painting last
(Although when doing a Bathroom or Kitchen they both get tacked into the WHOLE ROOM Project)

NOTE - You do want to know the status of your popcorn ceiling
30 years old, you should prob be ok
But an Asbestos Test is recommended
If it comes back positive ... that’s a whole other kettle of fish
And the abatement / removal will now be the ABSOLUTE FIRST TASK on your Home Reno List

Otherwise ... do the ceilings as you do each room / paint

Flooring last, then add your mouldings / trim ... and that finishes the paint jobs

Lol, get thru all that ...
And still got money to spare
Move onto your basement

Basement dead last cuz the true value of your home is found in the regular living area ... not the basement
A basement is a nice extra ... like a garage
Or a pretty landscaped backyard

Where you actually live (cook, eat, sleep, bathe) is what good & truly matters

PS ... you got your hands full man
Esp taking this all on with a new baby ...
Gotta take small bites ... so you don’t stress out & end up choking
Whereby exhaustion finds you in the midst of a gutted house with nothing completed ...
Just everything in process
NOT GOOD
Which is why I recommend hiring a whole home Contractor
There are some well known firms in every city that does these jobs
Not cheap ... but EXCELLENT work performed
Tell us where you are and peeps can make recommendations
(really should update your RFD Profile to show some Sort of location ... Province / Region - Nearby City etc )
Deal Addict
Sep 6, 2017
4485 posts
2968 upvotes
Wow, lots of demo, dust, noise, and inconvenience than the other thread where a member was doing the Reno's himself.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Dec 10, 2008
5039 posts
1716 upvotes
0 - Move out
1 - Electrical
2 - Ceiling
3 - Paint
4- Flooring

The rest can be done concurrently
Let's hug it out
Deal Addict
Sep 5, 2011
1146 posts
2007 upvotes
Toronto
I couldn't agree with @PointsHubby more. I am in the middle of renovating my entire house as well and those were pretty much the exact steps I took. So true about the dust, time and money.

If you have a few minutes, check out my thread. I documented pretty much my entire renovation.

diy-renovating-my-house-kitchen-build-p ... 6-2347888/
Deal Fanatic
Nov 18, 2005
5077 posts
1468 upvotes
Kitchener
Where is the electrical panel located and age of home? If there's open walls to it, then plan on upgrading kitchen circuits.
Deal Addict
May 23, 2009
3344 posts
1938 upvotes
Mississauga
With your baby I'd suggest you move out during the Reno. We went through it from late-Nov to mid-Feb and it was really hard on my kids(3yr old and 8 yr old) even though the house was swept and mopped daily(workers and then by me).
We did our basement first to maintain a hangout space for the kids through the reno, but kept a tighter leash on the basement budget as we wanted to spend more money on the main floor. Our basement took 4 weeks then we had 3 weeks break and then spent another 4 weeks on the main floor with parts of the 2nd floor stairs. It gets really dusty.

I'll also suggest a company that specializes in each reno or a General Contactor. Getting your own subs for each task can be cheaper but I found it less stressful working with one person.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 6, 2010
15507 posts
10148 upvotes
Toronto
I'd find another place to live during the job. I completely reno'd my home, started summer of 2012 and completed in 2016 spring. It's a very messy and inconvenience, moreso with children and no kitchen.
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Deal Addict
Jun 26, 2019
1997 posts
1728 upvotes
GTA
Sanyo wrote: Popcorn ceiling first...it is a very messy job.
This, much like other parts of renos depends on who you hire. You can take down a full popcorn ceiling, skim coat the whole thing and sand it a few times with minimal dust. Go go Planex or really any other drywall sander on the market now a days.

On the other hand, if you hire someone who is going to scrape it and then hand sand it with a pole sander, there will be so much freaking dust.
PointsHubby wrote: Truth ...

This is an AMBITIOUS LIST

Expect to be living in a Construction Zone for quite awhile ...
and just like EVERY Reno Project
Anticipate that it will take longer than you like / planned
And also COST MORE than you like / planned

The more you do at once ... say with a General Contractor to assist
The more it’s gonna cost you ...
but it will prob move faster and be a good investment if you hire a great Contractor who has plenty of experience hiring & scheduling trades and sourcing materials
This is something that needs to be echoed.

Generally speaking, this is the main thing you need to decide. If you want it done in a timely manner, and Im talking a matter of months, you basically need to hire a good contractor who knows what he's doing.

If you do a lot of the management/hiring of trades yourself, you're probably looking at a few months for each part, as opposed to the whole thing.

It really just comes down to how much money you are comfortable with spending and/or how much time to have to devote to this.

Also, as previously stated, there is no way you can come close to finishing, let alone starting by the time school starts this year. I think a more realistic time frame is probably next year. You're going to want a sufficient amount of planning even if you're hiring someone to take care of everything. And if you are going to oversee things yourself, you'll need even more time.
Deal Addict
Sep 5, 2011
1146 posts
2007 upvotes
Toronto
koffey wrote: I'd find another place to live during the job. I completely reno'd my home, started summer of 2012 and completed in 2016 spring. It's a very messy and inconvenience, moreso with children and no kitchen.
Wow and I thought my reno is taking forever. You are in the same boat as me! I am hoping to finish my reno by the end of this year which would make it exactly 4 years. Started my journey on January 2017.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 6, 2010
15507 posts
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Toronto
PCShutters wrote: Wow and I thought my reno is taking forever. You are in the same boat as me! I am hoping to finish my reno by the end of this year which would make it exactly 4 years. Started my journey on January 2017.
It's a very long process when you have a full time job :lol:

I also believe that your house is substantially bigger than my bungalow. ;)

June 2012 - April 2016
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Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 13, 2004
13092 posts
4701 upvotes
Ontario
One thing to add since you will be opening up walls and such and depending on your home layout this would be the perfect time to run some Cat6 cables for internet. For example if your internet modem is in the basement and your office/bed rooms etc are above the kitchen it would be a very good idea to run the cat6 cables as it will be much easier. You guys may not need it now but in the future for the kids and how everything is over the internet, computers/tvs/gaming systems etc etc you run the cables so you dont have to rely on sometimes shitty wifi. Also your kid(s) will be growing up and will want it in their room as wifi could be weak.
Deal Addict
Oct 14, 2004
1466 posts
430 upvotes
Toronto
If you are going to be doing that much - how is the insulation in the house? Are you happy with the wiring? Any plumbing issues? Now is the time to take care of them.

We did a whole home reno + addition in 2017/2018 and we moved out for 16 months; then spent the next two years doing small things. It is certainly time-consuming.
Deal Addict
Sep 5, 2011
1146 posts
2007 upvotes
Toronto
koffey wrote: It's a very long process when you have a full time job :lol:

I also believe that your house is substantially bigger than my bungalow. ;)

June 2012 - April 2016
Yes. Thank god for an understanding wife.

I doubt my house is that much bigger. It is only 1,670sq ft. We have the smallest house in the whole neighbourhood. All of my neighbours have 3-4,000 sqft home.
Member
User avatar
Mar 8, 2004
355 posts
129 upvotes
Montreal
Looks like there’s a lot of good feedback for the order of things to do...

I would tend to agree but if you’re going to look for contractors and help for the work unless you know many trustworthy contractors, I would say the research of doing the work will take also a lot of time.

Try to look for good potential contractors per type of work or for the whole thing (2 or 3 to request a quote and compare and see how they will differ. That way you’ll getaway better idea of the work involved, the technique they use and objectives. It will sometimes be hard to compare contractors who uses more modern approaches to more traditional ones and see which one is better.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Oct 6, 2010
15507 posts
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Toronto
PCShutters wrote: Yes. Thank god for an understanding wife.

I doubt my house is that much bigger. It is only 1,670sq ft. We have the smallest house in the whole neighbourhood. All of my neighbours have 3-4,000 sqft home.
Mine is 910sqft main and a similar sized basement. I agree about the wife part. I truly believe she is my life partner at this point after surviving that ordeal. I also gave her full creative control over all fixtures, tiles, layout, ect... The only thing she had no control over was the mechanical room that I just finished. I excluded that and the cold cellar when doing the whole house renovation. The mechanical room, 288sqft, took me a little over a year by itself. Started Nov 2018 and finished Dec 2019. Cold cellar was a few weeks.
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Sep 25, 2003
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Scarborough
First step, start with your design plan and be clear with your renovation goals. If you have never renovated before, I would recommend to spend the time to find a good general contractor and move out of the home when construction starts especially with a new baby.

First time, we hired a GC to renovate our whole house before we moved in with a baby on the way. Reno took four months. Spent lots of time making design choices at the big box stores, meaning lots of builder grade stuff installed to keep under our modest budget. No prior construction or renovation experience.

Fifteen years later all the appliances (except microwave) from our first renovation decided to die together. This time we lived in the home while we re-renovated our kitchen, flooring, painting, and upgraded millwork. Camped in the basement while the floors were being done for a couple of weeks. Not fun trying to sleep after a night shift with hammering going on overhead. We also did the project managing ourselves which allowed us to best control our costs and schedule. Did a lot of DIY / home maintenance projects after moving in, so was also comfortable doing demo, painting, tiling, millwork, appliances, drywall. Eventually moved back into the kitchen about four months after demo started, but didn't put the final backsplash tile on until a year later. At least with a GC, those deficiencies get completed otherwise they don't get paid. If you project manage yourself, you tend to live with them until you have guests coming over.

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