12 Things to Consider When Renovating a Condo

Things to Consider When Renovating a Condo

Like any other dwelling, condos tend to age, some more gracefully than others. The decision to renovate your condo can have many reasons, whether it is to fix it up, update it, personalise it or maybe you intend to sell it and want to increase its value to improve your chances of finding a buyer.

Whatever your reason is, condo renovations in Toronto have become a growing trend as it’s cheaper than buying a new one, and often, new condos give you less square footage for the same price, so there are many benefits to upgrading an older model.

Depending on how big of a renovation you are looking for and which rooms you are planning to overhaul, it can get pretty costly, so it’s critical to plan and budget the project well and ensure that you can get everything correctly done.

This blog will focus on all the things to consider when renovating a condo to help you get off to a solid start!

12 Things to Consider When Renovating a Condo 

1. Establishing Your Renovation Goals:

Defining Your Objectives

Whether it is a small condo renovation or a complete remodel, initially, you should lay out your goals and objectives. This is critical because to be as efficient as possible, you must clearly understand what you’re setting out to achieve. Whether looking at aesthetic updates, modernising the place or maximising the available space, a detailed plan will help you research and determine the cost of your project.

Setting a Realistic Budget

The budget is crucial for any renovation project as it will decide if you can do everything you have planned or have to prioritise certain parts of your reno. This is why research is essential to get multiple quotes for all the elements you want done, and get a comprehensive overview of all costs because knowing how to renovate a condo on a budget can save you a lot of future headaches.

It can be tempting to try to get everything on your wish list realised, but it’s critical not to overextend yourself financially, and this is something that many homeowners don’t think about; you always have to set aside an inevitable part of your budget for incidentals. As much as nobody wants to admit it, almost every renovation will hit a snag here and there that will require attention.

2. Evaluating the Space and Layout:

Assessing Current Layout and Flow

Generally, condos give you less to play with when it comes to renovations than a house and any structural changes, such as tearing down walls, add a lot of cost to a project. Another factor is that many condos have structural columns that cannot be moved; the same goes for common electrical lines or pipes.

Therefore, explore optimising your existing layout to increase functionality and comfort, as you can devote more of your budget to the renovations. If you are not sure, consider hiring an architect or interior designer if you would like to get expert advice.

Space Utilisation and Efficiency

Explore any strategies that will allow you to maximise the existing space in your condo. Sometimes, you don’t have to make significant structural changes to reap considerable benefits.

If you can’t (or don’t want to) tear down walls to open up the space, consider an open floor plan to create a better flow and give an illusion of more space. You can explore built-in storage to put away things that might otherwise clutter your space or multi-purpose furniture to free up space.

3. Addressing Structural and Building Regulations:

Understanding Condo Association Rules

One crucial factor you must understand is that any condo renovation is subject to the policies of your condo board. The rules and regulations vary from board to board. While some may have restrictions on which structural or cosmetic upgrades you can make, others will most likely have limitations as to which times or days condo renovations can take place to reduce noise, dirt and other inconveniences for your neighbours. Another vital factor to consider is that you have to check with them which elevator you can use and at which times.

Condo boards have a lot of power, and not getting all the details straightened out can cause headaches. This must also be factored into your timeline, as these restrictions can slow renovation.

Consulting Building Codes and Permits

Whether you plan to renovate a condo or a house, adhering to all building codes is critical. The rules and regulations vary from city to city, so you must check the rules where you live. This is crucial because the authorities can force you to undo all renovations if you don’t play by the condo renovation rules in Ontario and don’t get a permit.

You Might Also Like: Condo Renovation Requirements in Toronto – 2024 Update

4. Planning the Design and Aesthetics:

Selecting a Design Style

There are a lot of different styles you can go with for your condo renovation, whether modern, rustic, minimalist or industrial. If you need inspiration, there are many resources available online. If you’re looking for condo renovation ideas, websites such as Pinterest are full of designs that can help you determine which direction you would like to go in.

Try to picture what you would like to see as personal preferences and see if they could be realised within the architecture of your condo.

Choosing Materials and Finishes

Materials and finishes are among the most significant cost variables of any renovation. Often, different materials can achieve similar aesthetics but at wildly varying price points, so with some research, you may be able to save considerable money. Also, consider durable materials that require little maintenance or can withstand a bump or two, especially if you have kids. This can make a big difference.

When you have a design plan, coordinate different materials to achieve a cohesive look. Mixing and matching can create some interesting effects and tie different rooms of your condo together stylistically.

5. Hiring Professionals

Working with professionals can make a significant difference, not only if you are dealing with a strict condo association. They have experience with renovations and working within restrictions and regulations to ensure a smooth and timely project realisation.

Hiring Contractors and Tradespeople

Hiring a quality contractor can be the best decision for the whole project. They have extensive experience with any type of renovation and also have trusted tradespeople they work with, such as electricians or plumbers.

Finding the right contractor is a big decision; you must do due diligence to ensure you hire the best possible quality. When researching, check references and verify that they are licensed because you don’t want to fall victim to a scam or not be insured if problems arise.

Working with Interior Designers

If you are unsure what design could work best for your condo or may have trouble figuring out how to fit your vision into the existing condo layout, an interior designer can significantly boost your creativity.

They can help with space planning, colour schemes and furniture selections. Even if you have your own ideas, they can help you bring everything together communicatively and collaboratively.

If you want professional help managing a condo renovation, look no further than Senso Design!

Senso Design is a leading condo renovation contractor in Toronto and the GTA and has over 20 years of experience in woodworking and interior design. We work with the most prominent Western European manufacturers using the most advanced German and Italian equipment to ensure the best possible quality.

We think outside the box and don’t try to force preconceived ideas on our customers but work with you to realise your ideas from design to realisation.

Senso Design offers free, no-obligation consultations, so contact us today at 416-900-3675 to find out about your options and how we can help you realise the condo of your dreams.

6. Electrical and Plumbing Considerations:

Upgrading Electrical Systems

The electrical system is one of the most crucial parts of your condo that has to be up to code. Unless it is a smaller, purely aesthetic renovation, the electrical system should always be checked to ensure everything functions properly for safety reasons.

Consider energy-efficient lighting fixtures and outlets if you have to touch the electrical during your renovation. Over the last few years, technology has advanced by leaps and bounds, so why not use it to save you money in the long run?

Plumbing Modifications

You might consider upgrading pipes or moving fixtures if your renovation involves your kitchen or bathroom. It’s critical to hire a professional plumber for any plumbing work as they don’t just have the experience and correct tools but also give you the guarantee that the work will be done professionally. The last thing you’ll want is a leak or a broken line that then causes damage not only to your condo but also your neighbours’. If you’re worried about the condo renovation cost, try keep the number of fixtures you want to move at a minimum.

7. Flooring and Wall Treatments:

Flooring Options

The flooring is an integral part of your condo, not only for aesthetic reasons but also for maintenance. These are the most popular flooring choices:

Hardwood

This timeless classic has been a favourite for decades. While it’s one of the more expensive options, it comes with almost unmatched durability, easy maintenance and an elegant aesthetic, making it an eye-catching option to attract buyers.

On the other hand, the cost is its most significant downside, along with being relatively loud to walk on and sensitive to moisture.

Tile

Similar to hardwood, tiles are easy to maintain and durable, giving you many stylistic options. Water resistance is another significant benefit, so it’s ideal for kitchens and bathrooms.

The downsides are that they are loud to walk on and can be cold, so while under-tile heating is available, it’s expensive. If a tile cracks, it can be challenging to repair.

Laminate

Laminate flooring has quickly become popular among condo owners as it is designed to look and function like hardwood but at a fraction of the price. Its durability lies between carpet and hardwood, and is easy to clean.

The main drawback is that it is sensitive to humidity and cannot be refinished.

Carpet

One of the most popular options is carpeting, primarily due to its comfort. It is soft to walk on and gives the room a softer look. It also is warmer and quieter. It can also be installed relatively quickly and mask some subfloors’ unevenness. Due to noise concerns, some condo boards will not allow you to replace existing carpeting with tiles or hardwood.

On the other hand, its main con is that it is susceptible to stains and can get worn and dirty in high-traffic areas, such as the entrance. It also can cling to hidden dirt even with regular vacuuming.

Wall Treatment Ideas

The walls often get neglected regarding the design, but they give you plenty of options. Paint can make a big difference in your condo’s brightness, and you can even make it a significant factor in your design by painting an accent wall with a bright, popping colour to shake up the place. And while wallpapers have a bad reputation, they are an excellent alternative for combining your design with different colours, designs and textures.

If you want to make your condo look bigger, choose bright colours. They reflect natural light and give the space a bigger and airier feel. The same goes for the ceiling. A light-coloured ceiling creates the illusion of space, while a darker paint makes things feel more cozy and intimate.

8. Storage Solutions:

Incorporating Smart Storage

One of the biggest challenges in many condos is storage space. Compared to a house, most condos are less generous regarding space, so making the most out of what you have to work with is essential. Thankfully, there are many innovative options available to combat this issue.

Look at your space and consider multi-functional furniture with built-in storage space or under-bed storage to have things out of the way but still within arm’s reach. Utilise built-in shelving to organise your storage and make the most out of the height of your condo through vertical organisation to maximise the space.

9. Lighting Strategies:

Natural and Artificial Lighting

Lighting can play a significant role in the ambience of your condo, whether natural or artificial. Depending on which direction your condo is facing, it can be essential to allow as much natural light for an organic, natural feel (and also to help you keep your energy bills down), giving warmth.

On the other hand, artificial lighting can help you create structure in your condo by highlighting certain areas. The right type of artificial light also depends on the height of your condo. Consider suspended light fixtures if you have high ceilings; if they are low, look into recessed lighting.

10. Energy Efficiency and Sustainability:

Energy-Saving Appliances

With energy conscience (and energy prices) high on condo owners’ lists, energy-efficient appliances are a great way to save on utility costs and help the environment at the same time. With technological advancements for washers and dryers, fridges and toilets, it’s a great way to experience savings.

If you shop for new appliances or fixtures, check the ENERGY STAR rating, a trusted program promoting energy-efficient appliances.

Sustainable Materials

Tying in with the above, consider using eco-friendly, sustainable materials. Many materials, such as cork, bamboo or reclaimed wood for flooring or cabinetry, reduce the strain on the environment and save energy in the long run.

11. Timing and Project Phasing:

Creating a Realistic Timeline

Timing is critical, especially for a Toronto condo renovation, as you must also consider restrictions the condo board imposes. Setting up a realistic timeline is crucial because you want to avoid getting caught out by rushing to finish it and then being forced to cut corners to stay within the initially set timeframe. An experienced condo renovation contractor like Senso Design will be able to give you a good idea of how much time you should calculate for the renovation you are planning.

Renovations are bound to see some delays here and there, whether due to unexpected obstacles to overcome, mistakes made or the abovementioned delays due to inaccessibility of the elevator or restricted working hours. This is why it is essential to allow some flexibility to manage unexpected setbacks like this.

Phasing the Project

Consider breaking it up into different phases depending on the size of your project. Whether it’s to spread out the cost or reduce the impact on your daily life, focusing on one room at a time could be a good idea, especially if it includes an extensive renovation, such as your kitchen.

If you want to finish the project in as little time as possible or escape the chaos, consider staying at a friend, family or hotel for a few days while the most significant part of your renovation is done.

12. Final Inspections and Quality Assurance:

Thorough Inspections

A thorough inspection before closing the project is an integral part of any renovation. This way, you can check that everything has been carried out to plan and to your satisfaction. One way to achieve this is to make a checklist of everything included in the project so you can methodically check the quality and address any issues before the project is officially completed.

Making Necessary Adjustments

It’s critical to address any issues you find during this final inspection as soon as possible so they can be fixed promptly. After all, you are paying to get a renovation done to professional standards, so if you are not satisfied with something that has been contractually agreed on, you are in your right to demand the problem be fixed.

Conclusion:

A condo renovation in Toronto is a project with many moving parts, so proper planning is critical to ensure a smooth process and, hopefully, very few surprises spring up along the way. From determining your goals and evaluating the existing space to everything to consider, such as electrical and plumbing, storage, materials and more.

We hope that this guide about all the things to consider when renovating a condo will allow you to confidently embark on your renovation journey, armed with the knowledge to make informed decisions. Hiring an experienced condo renovation contractor in Toronto like Senso Design will be one of the best decisions you will make as you will be able to benefit from their experience and expertise as they can handle the whole project from beginning to finish, allowing you to avoid the day-to-day headaches that come with a project like this.

So, if you want professional help managing a condo renovation in Toronto, look no further than Senso Design!

Senso Design is a leading condo renovation contractor in Toronto and the GTA and has over 20 years of experience in woodworking and interior design. We work with the most prominent Western European manufacturers using the most advanced German and Italian equipment to ensure the best possible quality.

We think outside the box and don’t try to force preconceived ideas on our customers but work with you to realise your ideas from design to realisation.

Senso Design offers free, no-obligation consultations, so contact us today at 416-900-3675 to find out about your options and how we can help you realise the condo of your dreams.

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