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The Cost of Renovating a House in Canada

Written by Jessica Steer
In Canada, there are many reasons why, as a homeowner, you may want to renovate your home. Have you just recently gotten into the market and purchased a fixer-upper? Owned your house for years and ready to do some updates?
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    You may have even recently acquired an investment property that needs a few upgrades before you can rent it out. All of these are valid reasons to start renovating, but renovations can be daunting and costly. It can be difficult to navigate where to begin. Sometimes, home improvements can be as simple as a fresh coat of paint and some new floors, and other times they involve more complex projects like a full kitchen or bathroom renovation. No matter what renovation projects you choose to do, the hardest part can be figuring out a budget. There are so many variables involved in a home renovation that breaking it down into pieces can help you determine the overall cost, which can determine how you choose the renovation and when.

    How much does it cost to renovate a house?

    Once you have decided that you want to renovate your house, it’s important to figure out the budget you are working with and the general cost of the renovations that you want to complete. It can be hard to pinpoint an exact figure of what it would cost to renovate but that mostly depends on the type of renovations you are doing. Are you gutting the room and starting from scratch, or have you decided to refinish things such as floors or cabinets? It also depends on if other parts of your home need upgrading in the process like electrical and plumbing, as well as the size and age of the house.

    What is the cost for a full house renovation?

    It can be hard to determine the exact cost of a full house renovation. It can range anywhere from $15,000 - $200,000 depending on if you are just doing some cosmetic upgrades, like paint and flooring, or large-scale full gut renovation. Oftentimes, it isn’t feasible to do all of the work at once. It can be much more cost-effective to start renovations one room at a time. Remember, for larger renovations you may need to obtain permits so factor this into your budget. If you hire a contractor, they will take care of these permits for you.

    What is the cost to renovate a kitchen?

    Let’s start with the Kitchen. A kitchen renovation can be one of the costliest endeavors in the house to tackle. Experts say it can cost up to $195 per square foot or approximately $30,000. Being this is one of the main focal points of a home, homeowners often allocate a large chunk of their renovation budget to the kitchen. Many experts often recommend that your kitchen renovation should cost 5%-15% of the value of your home. Honestly, though, kitchen renovations can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 and up depending on the appliances you choose, if you want to change the structure of your current kitchen at all, or if you want custom cabinetry and countertops. A lot of it depends on how much work you do yourself, and how much you hire out. This also applies to any other areas of the home that need renovations.

    What is the average cost to renovate a bathroom?

    The cost of a bathroom renovation can vary a lot as well. Again, this depends on if you want to make any structural upgrades, upgrade the plumbing, or need any electrical updates. Adding a jacuzzi or separating the shower from the bathtub can also elevate the costs of a bathroom renovation. These changes will vary for everyone but on average you will need at least $15,000 for a basic renovation. Even if this is a bit more than you anticipate spending, it doesn’t hurt to have a bit extra just in case you find any surprises along the way.

    What about the rest of the house?

    While the kitchen and bathroom(s) will take up a majority of your budget in a home renovation, there are still other spaces in the home to consider. If you have a basement and serious work is needed above just new paint and floors, the project costs can get quite high. Sometimes, these types of home improvements can cost as much as $35,000 or higher.

    While kitchen and bathroom renovations are more costly, there are also standard upgrades that are common in old houses such as doors and windows, that can increase the project costs. Landscaping upgrades can also add to your overall cost. While landscape upgrades usually don’t exceed $5000 and are flexible to do over a longer period of time, new doors and windows can sometimes reach anywhere from $5000-$10,000.

    What is the average cost of a home renovation in Canada?

    The average total cost of a home renovation can vary depending on the type of projects you wish to tackle and if you decide to completely renovate your house or not. If you decide to completely renovate, are you going to work with the current floor plan or do a complete gut renovation? It can also depend on the size of the house and how old the house is. While there are these factors to keep in mind, here are some average costs based on the scale of renovation that is taken on.

    Type of Renovation Average Cost
    Whole House (low) $15,000-$40,000
    Whole House (middle) $40,000-$75,000
    Whole House (high) $75,000-$200,000
    Full gut Renovation $100,000-$200,000

    What is the cost of a Renovation in B.C?

    In B.C. the average cost of a home renovation is between $19,800-$73,200 ($15-$60 per square foot). A full renovation that guts the house to the studs can cost anywhere between $100,000 - $200,000. These projected costs are based on hiring a contractor. While this can seem like a lot of money upfront, by hiring a contractor to complete these projects you are guaranteeing the work is done correctly and, depending on the contractor, the work is warrantied. Also, it is often cheaper to renovate a house than to purchase it fully renovated and it can largely increase the value of your home. Another upside is you have full control of the design options.

    What is the cost of a Renovation in Ontario?

    The cost of a renovation in Ontario is much different than the cost in B.C. The average renovation is roughly estimated to be between three different levels. The cost of renovations per square footage includes things like plumbing, heating and cooling systems, and new fixtures. These costs vary depending on the contractor you choose, and the scale of renovation needed.

    A cost of between $100-$200 per square foot will cover materials and standard work. When you start spending between $200-$300 per square foot, that’s when customization is involved. Often this is just renovating within the walls of a space. When you move about $300 per square foot, then this starts involving structural work including moving walls and changing the floor plan.

    What’s considered as a low-end renovation?

    It can be confusing when you start breaking down what kinds of renovations there are. What would be considered a low-end renovation? Well, this type of renovation would include more cosmetic work such as flooring, baseboards, and paint. It could also include things like basic cabinetry, lower-end appliances, and basic countertops. This type of renovation is ideal if you just want to freshen up the space or are planning on selling soon. Most of the time, buyers wish to do a lot of upgrades themselves to reflect their tastes, so spending too much on the style of renovation isn’t always worth it.

    What’s considered as a mid-scale renovation?

    A mid-scale renovation would consist of things like a full kitchen and bathroom remodel, hardwood flooring, and average appliance options. It can also factor in some exterior remodels as well, but the total cost would depend on the type of materials used. This type of renovation would often happen over an extended period of time, depending on how you choose to pay for it and would be more common in an older home with minimal issues.

    What’s considered as a high-end renovation?

    A high-end renovation is more expensive for a few reasons. First, it usually consists of higher-end materials as well as custom additions like cabinetry and closets. It can even include structural repairs, a complete layout change, the addition of things like central air or a heat pump, a new roof, and in some cases a professional interior designer. This is usually considered a full overhaul and is more common in older homes and fixer-uppers. If you are planning to flip the house or use it for your forever home this type of renovation may be the direction you wish to go.

    How much does it cost to renovate a 2,000 square foot house?

    Now that we have gone over the average cost of home renovations, how much would it cost to renovate a 2,000-square-foot home? While it’s hard to determine the exact amount since factors such as age and location aren’t available, on average a $50,000 budget can cover most of the renovation costs in your home. If you are trying to do the full home renovation on $50,000 there would most likely be a lot of DIY projects and re-using old pieces of your home. There is nothing wrong with keeping your home renovation budget smaller, it may just involve a bit more creativity on your part.

    With a budget of $75,000, you have a few more options available to you. You can get things like a new roof, hardwood flooring, a completely renovated kitchen and/or bathroom, and new windows. Even though this is a higher budget, depending on your location, in a home of this size you will likely need to go for lower-quality materials or more DIY projects.

    A budget of $100,000 is usually a safe bet to do a full renovation of a 2000-square-foot house. This will allow for things such as custom cabinets, high-end appliances, exterior renovations, landscaping, and exterior additions like a deck or a patio. This is a considerable amount of money for a full renovation and will often allow you to splurge on some luxuries and account for unpredicted costs.

    How much does it cost to renovate a 3-bedroom house?

    What if you want to remodel a 3-bedroom house? Well, this is a similar cost to that of a 2000-square-foot house. It can cost anywhere between $20,000 and $100,000 depending on the scale of renovation you are looking to achieve.

    What is the cost of renovating a 100-year-old house?

    Renovating a house that is 100 years old can be very pricey even if it does have smaller square footage. Things like lead and asbestos can be found in these older homes, and since they have been around a while, it is common to find surprises while conducting renovations. The floor plans of older homes often are different from modern homes and may need to be updated. This being the case, it is often safe to budget around $200,000 for a full gut renovation of an older home that way you do not risk going over budget, but still get the upgrades and floor plan you were looking for.

    While this is expensive for a renovation, it appeals to people when they are purchasing older homes for a few reasons. Older homes are cheaper which can allow for a larger renovation budget, it can dramatically increase the value of the home and you can place your own style in the home.

    How to pay for home renovations

    Now that we have discussed the different types of renovations and their costs, how do you pay for it? The great news is there are plenty of options out there for you.

    The First option is to save money. If you know that you are going to want to have some upgrades done around your home, it can be helpful to create a budget to allow you to save for these upgrades and not have to rely as much on taking out a loan or using credit cards.

    The second option is to use a home equity loan or line of credit (loc). This allows you to access up to 80% of the equity in your home minus any amount currently owing on your mortgage. This type of loan can also be taken out as a second mortgage and is a good option if you are doing a substantial renovation that will increase the overall value of your home.

    Instead of taking out a home equity loan or LOC, another idea would be to refinance your mortgage. Instead of getting a second mortgage to tap into your home’s equity, refinancing allows you to use that equity in your current mortgage, allows for smaller payments over a large period of time, and has a lower interest rate.

    Instead of these options above, another way to cut costs and reduce debt that we have already discussed is DIY. A good majority of the cost of renovations is for labor. If you are handy and have the time and energy to put into your home improvements, this may be a great way for you to save some money while increasing the value of your home.

    If none of these options above are available to you or you need a little bit extra to meet your needs, you can always use credit cards or get a personal loan. Personal loans offer lower interest rates than credit cards and with Spring Financial you can get same-day approval allowing you to start those renovations faster.


    Overall, renovations can be costly, but they can add tremendous value to your home. Whether you are looking to change the colour of the paint or completely redo your floor plan, the options are endless. As a homeowner, there are many choices available to you in order to pay for these renovations, and you don’t have to tackle them all at once. If you decided to do a full gut revocation, it is probably more feasible to do it all in one fell swoop. While the cost of the renovations depends on many factors like location, age of the home, size of the home, and the materials chosen; it can be a lot more doable than you think. Ultimately, a home renovation is a great way to make a larger return on your investment, or even just to create your dream living space.

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