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Everyone has a different reason for wanting to renovate. Sometimes it’s the simple need for a change. Other times, the motivation is more practical. If you wake up one day with a puddle in the basement and a water-stained ceiling, you know you have to act fast. In general, there are three types of renovation: lifestyle, retrofit, and maintenance and repair.

  • Lifestyle renovations improve your home’s and your way of life. They might involve building a sun room for pleasure, or converting unused attic space into living quarters to meet your changing needs.
  • Retrofit projects usually focus on your home’s shell or mechanical systems. Examples are upgrading your insulation, replacing your furnace, or putting on new siding.
  • Maintenance and repair renovations protect the investment you have made in your house through activities such as caulking windows, reshingling your roof, or replacing your eavestroughs.


  • Higher market value, increased equity
  • Improved comfort
  • More space
  • Added convenience
  • Aesthetic appeal
  • Improved Safety
  • Energy and resource savings
  • Greater privacy
  • Healthier living environment
  • Easier maintenance
  • The simple pleasure of a fresh new look

A successful renovation can be a dream come true, but without careful planning and management, it can be a nightmare.
Be informed. Before you pick up a hammer, pick up a book or a video on home renovation. Talk to friends and neighbours who’ve renovated. Explore all the options, and remember the carpenter’s creed: measure twice, cut once. Mistakes on paper are easy to fix and inexpensive. Mistakes on the job are not. The following questions will help make sure you’re heading in the right direction.

Is Your Renovation Practical?

While maintenance renovations aren’t really a choice they’re part of owning a home and protecting your investment lifestyle renovations and even some retrofit plans may not be practical or do-able.
Be clear about your expectations. Learn when to draw the line between what’s desirable and what’s essential.
Almost any renovation will add to, or at least protect, the equity in your home, but kitchen and bathroom renovations and painting normally provide the greatest payback when you sell. If your property taxes and insurance premiums go up, the increase is usually small.

Your Money's Worth?

Over time, the money you save on heat, light and water by making your home more energy efficient may actually pay for the upgrades. Safety also pays. Insurance companies often decrease premiums when you improve wiring or fire prevention and improve or add a security system.
On the other hand, you can overdo a good thing. If you plan to move within a few years, is the renovation worth it? Will it pay to put on an expensive new addition when your house is in an area of more modest homes?

Payback Range Of Typical Renovations

Top Four Greates Payback Potentials:

  • Bathroom renovation (75 100%)
  • Kitchen renovation (75 100%)
  • Interior painting (50 100%)
  • Exterior painting (50 100%)

Ten Average Payback Potentials:

  • Roof shingle replacement (50 80%)
  • Furnace/heating system (50 80%)
  • Basement renovation (50 75%)
  • Recreation room addition (50 75%)
  • Installing a fireplace (50 75%)
  • Flooring (50 75%)
  • Constructing a garage (50 75%)
  • Window/door replacement (50 75%)
  • Building a deck (50 75%)
  • Central air conditioning (25 75%)

Information provided by the Appraisal Institute of Canada, 2006.