What influences the cost of home renovations?

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Want to give your tired bathroom an upgrade? Fancy sprucing up your kitchen? Or do you want a little extra space without having to move home?

It sounds like you’re considering a home improvement project.

But home renovation isn’t something to be taken lightly - it takes time, organisation, and money. By understanding what influences the cost of a home improvement, you’ll get a better idea of whether this is something you can afford.

Understanding the full costs involved will help you manage your expectations and prepare you for the overall impact on your finances.

In this guide, we outline the main factors that will affect the cost of home improvements.

  1. The type of home renovation

    Let’s start with the type of home improvement you’re looking for. There’s a big budget difference between redecorating a room and building one from scratch.

    Installing a new kitchen is something which sits at the top of many homeowners’ wishlist. On average, they cost £14,000 (Which? Magazine, 2018) but lots of factors will influence their price. If you’re considering a kitchen renovation, visit our guide on: 

    How much a new kitchen costs and how to finance this.

    Another extremely popular but lower-cost choice is a bathroom renovation. According to tradesmenprices.co.uk, this will cost around £3,500. However, similar to kitchens, every bathroom is different so to find out more about the price of different features and labour costs, read our guide to bathroom costs.

    It’s also common for growing families to want more space in their existing property by adding an extension or converting an unused room like a garage or loft.

    The costs for each type of project can vary significantly depending on the size, the location, and the scale of the work. Your contractor should give professional advice on how to get the best value for money from your home improvement.

  2. The type of materials

    It may seem an obvious factor, but the quality of the materials you use in the renovation will have a significant impact on the overall cost. Therefore, it’s important to do your research and choose materials wisely.

    Keep in mind that the most expensive materials are not always the best option. For example, a bespoke work surface in a kitchen may look fantastic but if it’s not particularly durable and will hold bacteria it might be better to go for a different option.

    Consider the options available to you and pay attention to the material’s longevity - not just the style. And of course, once you’ve set a budget for materials, make sure you stick to it.

  3. Project management

    When it comes to planning a renovation project, establishing a schedule is important to keep things on track.

    Unnecessary or prolonged delays to one area of a build can be costly and have a knock-on effect on areas like deliveries or timing the arrival of contractors to start the next stage of the project.

    With good project management and an organised approach to a build or renovation, you can stay in control of the budget as well as timescales.




  4. Employing the right ‘hired hand’

    The people you hire to carry out work can also influence the cost. You may be able to save money by sourcing your own tradespeople, but be wary of any ‘too good to be true’ quotes.

    It may be worth paying more for a highly reputable experienced contractor who will complete high quality work quickly to save you money in the long run.

    Whatever you do, make sure you research reviews before making an agreement. You can easily find reviews online with websites like Checkatrade.com where customers review builders, plumbers, roofers and many other skilled workers in their local area.

  5. Seasonal factors

    Wet, cold or windy weather can increase the cost of home renovations. That’s why spring and summer are the most popular - and best value - time of year for building work.

    One of the reasons why costs can be higher in winter is due to weather delays. As we mentioned earlier, knock-on delays can lead to unnecessary expenses. Another factor to consider is that if you are adding an extension or undertaking any work that requires windows or doors to be open, it will usually cost you more to keep your home warm.

    By planning your renovations carefully, you can carry out work at speed and in a cost-efficient way. Of course, weather disruption can happen at any time of year but choosing a month that’s usually dry limits the risk.

  6. Additional costs

    In some cases, you may also need to pay for planning permission or building regulation approval fees. And, this process might also mean you incur further costs by needing to hire a surveyor or architect, or paying extra for an inspection of the work.

    It’s important to factor in all costs and an allowance for any unavoidable, unexpected costs before undertaking home renovations.

    Being aware of what influences the cost of home improvement can help you plan your project and your budget as you weigh up the practicalities and costs of a home improvement.

    Interested in carrying out a home renovation but unsure how to cover the cost? Explore the different ways you could pay for a kitchen remodel, new bathroom, extension or loft conversion in our:

    Ultimate guide to financing your next home improvement.

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