5 Tips For Renovating To Budget
By Alex Brooks (MAY)
Don’t you know, there’s an economic crisis out there? Busting the budget is everyone’s biggest fear of renovation. And even if you factor in a 10 or 20 per cent “extra” to cover budget blowouts and never tell a tradie “while you’re at it” — it’s hard not to end up shelling out more than you want to.
What we all need to do is get our home dreams at a price we can afford. And not by cheaping out, either. With some strategic thinking about design, materials, and timing, it’s not so hard to cut costs without cutting corners. The universal truth about renovations is that every little thing adds up. So save a little here, save a little there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
1. Efficiency, not size
If you can reorganize and equip your home, kitchen or bathroom for maximum utility, you may not need to rebuild to create more space. Start by replacing space–hogging shelves with pullout drawers or concealed cabinets. This is especially true in the kitchen, where planning to gain more storage space pays off by not having to expand the cabinetry into other rooms or extend.
2. Natural light without adding doors or windows
Before cutting a big hole for those bifold doors you’ve longed for, consider less invasive—and less expensive—ways of capturing light. To brighten up a windowless hallway, for instance, install a solartube skylight for less than $500 - it slips between roof rafters and funnels sunshine down below. Velux also make beautiful skylights.
3. Demolition Derby
Reap big savings with recycled or lightly used fixtures and building materials. BUt beware, because some tradies and builders won’t guarantee their work if they have to use salvaged items because they don’t want to assume the liability if something goes wrong. That said, if you’re doing your own work, you can find anything from prehung doors to acrylic skylights to windows and reclaimed hardwood timber floors.Oh, and this one works in reverse. Don’t forget to salvage any re-usable materials if you’re about to embark on demolition work.It will also save you on skip and rubbish removal fees. And doing your own demolition can also save you. Knocking down may not be as costly as rebuilding, but you can still shave dollars by doing some of the demolition yourself—as long as you proceed with care. Beware of unwittingly take out a load–bearing wall or, worse still, sawing through live wiring or plumbing.
4. Consider long–term costs
Buying pre-finished materials can be costly upfront, but works well if it means you save on an extensive paint or finishing job. Some examples of this include primed and painted weatherboards, decking boards, skirtings and even some prefabricated wall finishes. These materials cost more upfront but will save time and money down the track by helping you avoid too much painting.
5. Tap into your tradies sources
When it comes to things like flooring, ask your tradie if he has stock left over from other jobs. Sometimes tradies have mates who are about to trash material from a demolition job and want material taken away, which means you might just get something for nothing (OK, that’s unlikely, but it will be cheaper than buying from new).