Renovation Rundown: What Are the Steps in a Home Renovation?

Updated: December 2020

While not every home renovation works in the exact same order, you may want to follow a certain plan to help avoid unnecessary work. For example, you don't want to close walls and paint, only to realize you need to add a new plumbing stack that requires going behind the wall again.

Many renovation projects involve multiple steps. Here are 10 common steps to consider.

Make a plan

Assess what you'd like to renovate and set priorities, says Houzz. That includes deciding where to start and making sure you have the time and budget needed to get the work done.

Set a budget

Come up with a final number on how much you can comfortably spend on the renovation, says Better Homes and Gardens. It may be a good idea to check out Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost vs. Value Report to see how much average projects cost. Consider budgeting an extra 10 to 20 percent for unexpected costs that may arise, says Zillow.

Hire a contractor

Research and select a contractor with whom you feel comfortable, says Zillow. If you enter into a contract that clearly defines the scope of work up front, it can serve as a useful reference point for you and your contractor throughout the renovation process

Talk to your insurance company

Consider contacting your insurance company before and after your project to make sure you have the amount of coverage that fits your needs. Your home renovation could raise your home's value, so you may want to increase your coverage limits so your investment is better protected if it's damaged or destroyed, says the Insurance Information Institute. You'll also want to make sure your contractor has proper insurance.

Secure permits and order materials

Permits are typically required in many municipalities, and can be critical to avoid certain issues that could impact your project. . Make sure your contractor checks your municipality's latest regulations, since inspection rules change and vary in different locations, says Houzz.

Once you have the permits sorted out, you may also want to start ordering the necessary materials like lumber, drywall, new windows and doors, etc.

Start demolition

Once all your materials arrive at the job site and have been inspected, it's demolition time. If space is being added, then framing generally takes place, says Better Homes and Gardens. If walls within are being moved, it may be a good time to potentially install any new windows and doors.

Work behind the walls

Generally, this is the time for critical work behind walls, below floors, and above ceilings – plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning rough-ins, subfloors and insulation, says Better Homes and Gardens. Next, patch, hang drywall, tape and sand for smooth exterior surfaces.

Paint and install flooring

Some contractors may want to finish flooring first, while others prefer to prime and paint before working on the floor (to help prevent spills from getting on new flooring), says The Spruce. The order may also depend upon your contractors' schedules.

Install cabinetry

Now that walls and floors are in, the room begins to resemble its finished state. Cabinets are typically installed next, with upper cabinets going in before lower ones, says The Family Handyman.

Add finishing touches

It's time to add those last details and decorations – final painting, backsplashes, floor sealing, light fixtures, hardware and any other touch-ups.

Once a renovation is complete, be sure to take a moment to enjoy your new surroundings, and maybe even start dreaming of your next project.

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