Home Renovation Guide

Home Renovation Guide

Basics You Need to Know About Home Renovation in Ottawa, Canada


Are you planning to renovate your home for the first time – or the first time in a long time? If yes, this quick, handy Home Renovation Guide will give you the steps to follow so that your renovation is low-stress, on-budget, and improves both the quality of your life and the value of your home. Enjoy!

How to Find an Excellent General Contractor in Ottawa

Before beginning any home renovation project, your first step is to find an excellent general contractor to take care of everything for you. The general contractor you use will either make your home renovations a joy or, if you choose poorly, could make the entire project a colossal debacle. Below are the basics to follow when searching:

Call several contractors and arrange an interview with all of them. (We recommend you call 3)

Check online reviews on review websites like Google, HomeStars, Trusted Pros, Yelp, and others. The more positive the reviews, and the more of them you find, the better.  Also check out the companies replies

  • Surf the contractor’s Facebook page and see how they interact with customers. This can give you a great deal of insight into how they deal with the public.
  • Look out for companies with websites or social media pages that only have 3 or 4 portfolios/pictures of their work.  You don’t want to get stuck with a company that has only done 3 bathrooms…..
  • Ask family, friends, and colleagues who have had home renovations or a home addition done in Ottawa, who they would recommend.
  • If they can start right away, keep looking. The best general contractors are always busy and will need to schedule your renovations to fit their work schedule.

Basement Renovation Ottawa - Walk-Out Basement

Set Aside Extra Funds for Hidden Surprises During Your Home Renovation


Here’s the thing; there can be a surprise or two when having a basement renovation done in your home. The same goes for kitchen, bathroom, and other renovations. No matter how much you plan, there can be unforeseen problems, changes, and repairs that need to be made, which will increase your final cost. For this reason, we recommend setting aside 10% over and above your home renovation budget. That way, when those surprises happen, you’ll be financially ready to handle them.

Don’t Be Fooled by Suspiciously Low Bids

One of the biggest causes of stress when renovating a home is being told that the cost will be higher than the contractor told you at the project’s onset. In some cases, the cost can be significantly higher, especially if the contractor gave you a much lower bid than the other bids you received.

Two different things cause this scenario. The first, and the worst, is that the contractor purposely underbid to get the job. The second, which is still wrong, is when the person who put together the bid either was new at their job or missed something that the contractor should have included.

Either of these two scenarios, a purposefully low bid or a mistakenly low bid, can cause massive headaches down the road once your renovation project is already underway. In most cases, you’ll need to pay the difference or else be left with renovations that are only partially completed.

Don’t Put Down a Large Deposit on Your Renovation Project

One of the warning signs to look for when hiring general contractor is one who asks for more than 10% down to get the project started. The reason some do is a bit nefarious; unfortunately, they may need the money to finish another person’s renovation project. One caveat; if you’ve asked for expensive fixtures in your home renovation project, your contractor may ask for a 50% deposit for those items.

Make Sure the General Contractor you Choose Is Insured


This may seem trivial but, at the end of the day, it could be huge. It’s vital you make sure your general contractor has insurance to cover any accidents that might occur during the project. If they don’t, the responsibility for any accidents and injuries could rest on your shoulders alone, which would be very bad, financially speaking. Our suggestion; ask to see their insurance policy and ask for a copy of it as well.

Be Prepared for a Bit of Extra Stress

One thing that many homeowners don’t plan on is the extra stress that home renovations cause. The truth is, when you have kitchen renovation done, your kitchen will be out of commission, at least for a few weeks, if not a month. The same can be said for a basement renovation or bathroom renovation (although the kitchen is usually the worst).

Disruptions, dust, and strangers traipsing through your home can be a very stressful time for many folks, especially children. Planning for this extra stress can be helpful, such as a day out at the zoo or having meals sent to your home.

Speaking of planning, negotiating the rules of your home with the renovation crew is vital and needs to be done on day one. For example, will the crew use your bathroom, or will they bring a porta-potty? Will they clean at the end of each day? What hours will they arrive and leave every day, and how they’ll communicate if they’re going to be early or late? Your home addition will be much less stressful if you work these things out at the start of the project.

Last Words

If you follow the basics above, ask questions (and get answers to those questions), it will usually go off without any significant problems or stress. We recommend staying in constant contact with the head contractor during the project and letting them know of any issues or concerns right away. Do these things, and all of your home renovation projects should come to a very satisfactory conclusion.  Don’t wait to get started get in touch, give us a call today at (613) 727-9427 or use our online form.