Why Does Remodeling Cost So Much

why does home remodeling cost so muchThere are many factors that can make home remodeling expensive.  You must take into consideration that the company you hire to do any kind of home remodel or renovation did not build your house, so there are going to be some surprises along the way. New home construction is typically cheaper than home remodeling because there are many things that are hidden (behind walls) that we can’t see until we tear into them.  That is when we need make changes accordingly based on these new findings.  We have a “contingency” line item in each home remodeling budget (typically 3-5% of construction budget), but that can be eaten up pretty quickly if we find major problems.  This is when change orders can come into play.  DO NOT make your decision on which contractor to hire based on price alone! Go with your gut feeling.  Some contractors will give you a low ball price just to get the job and then hit you with change orders throughout the job to make up for their low ball bid.  Do your homework before starting any home renovation project.  Knowing what to expect from a home remodel is crucial.  Talk to friends, family, co-workers and neighbors who have been through a home remodel and ask them questions.  Do some research and find out how much home remodeling costs in your area.

Another major concern in home remodeling is that you are combining both old and new construction and trying to make it fit together.  It can sometimes be compared to the old saying: ‘trying to fit a round peg in a square one.’  Trust me, things have changed in the way we build things compared to 50 years ago.”  Danny Garcia, owner of Rhino Design Build in San Antonio, Texas.

Why Does it Cost so Much to Remodel?

Design: Making sure that your new room addition ties into your existing home is crucial.  If you are remodeling a kitchen or bathroom without adding square footage, the challenge will be having to work around existing walls, plumbing, electrical, framing, etc.  Find out what the average cost per square foot to remodel in your area costs.

Foundation:  a registered structural engineer is recommended when designing any new foundation.  They will likely get a soil test to base their design on what the soil characteristics contain.  Tying into an existing foundation can present a bit of a challenge.  Sometimes after the new foundation is poured, you will have to come back will a “floor leveler” in order to match up the new foundation the the old.

Framing: You will need to tie into the existing home structure somehow, but your framer might not know exactly how he will do it until he starts demolition.  Sometimes, LVL beams (laminated veneer lumber) will be required to support the new framing.  Load bearing walls will need to considered and how to keep from disturbing them.

Electrical: Depending on what kind of remodeling you are doing, you might be required to upgrade your electrical panel.  If you are adding more circuits than you have room for on your panel, you will have to upgrade the panel.  Depending on where you live in the country and what the electrical code says, you could be required to upgrade the entire electrical system if it doesn’t meet current code requirements.

Plumbing: Moving gas lines and sewer lines are probably the two most expensive things when it comes to plumbing.  Not knowing what is behind walls is where remodeling starts to get expensive.  Sometimes we tear into a wall that we are going to open up to new living space and there is a gas pipe running right smack dab in the middle.  If you are moving sewer lines, then your plumber will have to chip into your foundation to make room for the new sewer drain (this isn’t cheap).  If you are lucky enough to have a pier and beam foundation, then you won’t have to incur this cost.

HVAC (air conditioning): If you are adding more than 400 square feet to your house, then you may have to upgrade your HVAC unit.  The rule of thumb for A/C unit is 400-500 square feet per ton.  (example: a 2000 square foot house would need a 5 ton unit)  Depending on if you have to replace all the old ducts to new flex ducts, this could be a considerable cost when you factor in demolition and if they need to replace sheetrock.  The furnace will also need to be looked at to see if it can handle the new room addition as well.

As you can see, there are many factors that come into play when it comes to home remodeling.  That is why choosing the right contractor is a crucial part of any major home remodel.


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