Winter may seem like an unusual moment to renovate, but with the right knowledge and a bit of preparation, it may be a good time to add value to your home.
The secret of a successful winter renovation is good planning and working closely with your renovator, says Sam Lapidus, RenoMark Renovator and chairman of BILD Renovation and Custom Builder Council. Talking to your renovator ahead of possible challenges can help you save time and money in the long run. Snow and cold weather are two of the biggest factors that can hamper a winter renovation, and they require precautions so that nothing is left to chance.
During major renovations, you often have to leave your house for a few weeks. In order to ensure that your contractor has easy access to and from your home, take care of snow shoveling and salting of stairs and walkways during your absence. Some renovation companies can offer the service at an additional cost, so ask this in advance and make sure it is part of your renovation contract.
When you leave your home, it will probably cool considerably, even if the heat is still on. This increases the chance of water freezing in your pipes, causing them to burst. To keep the risk as small as possible, let a plumber heat the water pipe in your house or call your municipality to close the water on the street side.
Homeowners who do winter renovation in semi-detached houses or terraced houses should be aware of how it can affect their neighbors. These types of houses have shared walls and if the temperature in your house drops significantly, this can affect the comfort level of those living on the other side of the wall. If the shared wall is not properly insulated, talk to your renovator about installing temporary insulation to prevent heat loss. This is another issue that needs to be discussed beforehand, as this may entail additional costs.
Special precautions may be required when renovating houses with flat roofs. Major renovations or additions may jeopardize the structural sustainability of the home. Snow can accumulate on the roof and if your house is not structurally finished, this can not reduce the weight. For an extra fee, your renovator can let someone slide the snow or have an electrician install a specialized heater. After the renovation you can choose whether you want to remove the heating or leave it to prevent permanent snow.
Make sure that your renovation contract outlines the full scope of the work and all associated costs. Avoid renovators who urge you to abandon a written contract. It is a sign that you are not working with a professional. Verbal agreements make it difficult for you to hold your renovator liable for substandard work, and you do not have a reference point when there is a dispute over the payment.
Make sure you always work with a professional builder. A good place to find one is on renomark.ca – the home of the national RenoMark program. All renovators of RenoMark agree to adhere to a Code of Conduct that keeps them to a number of obligations. They offer not only a written contract, but also a warranty of at least two years, are covered by a liability insurance of at least $ 2 million and carry all applicable licenses and permits.
Your home is your biggest asset, so it deserves a pro, regardless of the time of the year.