Tips and Guides

5 Reasons Why Renovating Costs Go Up

Take note of these reminders from builders and professionals

Original Article: Amillah S. Rodil Photography: Yanez (Main Photo)

All of us dream of a well-designed home filled with the things we love and an aesthetic that even guests would appreciate. While many of us want to work on a renovation project to make this happen and keep the home in tip-top shape, having a working budget can be a concern.

To help keep costs down and avoid overspending, it’s best to take note of the different factors that may incur extra charges so you can prepare a contingency fund. Let the list below guide you:

1. Unexpected and hidden conditions

Just like a human body, the house also has an unseen inner structure. The façade and interiors may look fine, but the columns could be rotting or the pipes could be rusty. While cracks can be easily spotted and remedied, there are problems that cannot be discovered until the construction phase. A good example would be the ceiling. If you are planning to replace it, you may discover termites and simply repairing the affected parts won’t solve it. You’d have to replace the whole framing system with wood treated against termites.

Those who depend on the original plans of the house must also note that these aren’t always reliable. In one of his projects, an architect was asked to convert two bedrooms into one large all. The owners wanted a high ceiling so the old one was demolished. They soon discovered that the old ceiling hid a beam that traversed the center of the room. To solve this, they had to lower it again to conceal the beam, which meant more expenses.

2. Fickle minds and indecisiveness

According to some contractors, there are homeowners who can’t seem to make a final decision in terms of construction and changes to be made. While it’s your house and you have a say, you must also know that contractors have the right to charge extra for work that’s not in the original plan—this is referred to as a change order.

It’s also important to make timely decisions and consult with everyone involved in the project before agreeing on the changes. Aside from saving you from stress, it also avoids redoing changes that one didn’t like.

3. Connected elements

It’s best to think of the house as a unified whole. Keep in mind that a small change in one area can have a big impact. For example, a client wanted to relocate a door in the ground floor bathroom. Going this route meant demolishing a part of the wall and transferring the light switch. Since a part of the wall was demolished, they had to retile it and make sure that the new tiles matched the old ones.

Even adding new appliances can cost you extra. If you plan to add a new AC unit in a room, the contractor must make a hole in the wall to accommodate the unit and install a circuit breaker. Adding an additional power outlet also entails extra work and costs.

4. Substitution of materials

It’s important to note that architectural finishes can vary. A change in material can have an impact on the cost of the material and labor as different materials have different installation procedures. Take for example a homeowner who wants to change the flooring of his bedroom from wood parquet to marble to match the living area. During the process, they realized that the marble chosen for the bedroom was thicker than the ones used in the living area. To finish the project, they had to chip off the whole floor slab to keep the floor line at the same level.

5. Price escalation

As with any other commodity or product, building materials are subject to market forces. Keep in mind that the prices of cement, metals, and roofing tend to fluctuate. Projects that cover a long period of time are vulnerable to price changes and there are contracts that cover these. Contactors are allowed to make additional charges if prices go up.

Looking for a design professional for your next home improvement project? Click here.

Read the original article ("Why Renovating Cost Goes Up & How To Keep It Down") in the October 2004 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

PHOTOS: Pexels—Unsplash | Simon Hansen | Tookapic | Luis Yanez (Main) and Dairy Darilag (4 and 5)

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