When you’re renovating your home, you already have a checklist of items to complete. And if you bought a fixer-upper, it’s probably an extensive list. However, there are other tasks that you may not be thinking of right now, but incorporating them during your renovation may save you time, money and heartache down the road.
Here’s a list of tasks worth taking on during your renovation.
Schedule your termite treatment
If you’re knocking down walls, treat for termites before new drywall goes up, advises Glen Ramsey, Entomologist for Orkin. “Termites can hide within the walls, so once those walls are covered in fresh paint and art, termites are often out of sight and out of mind.”
He also says that choosing the right materials can help to prevent pests. “It’s best to use lumber that is pressure treated or composite, making it resistant to insects and decay.” When selecting siding materials, you should also make sure that what you choose will be durable against pests long-term. “While more expensive upfront, vinyl, stucco or other non-wood materials are the best selections. You should also ensure siding materials don’t extend below grade at installation.”
Upgrade your electrical
If you have an older home, 60 to 100 amp service won’t be sufficient with today’s technology. “Since you are hiring an electrician and pulling permits on your home, now is the best time to upgrade the main service and that old panel,” advises Mark Luongo, Owner and Project Manager at Luongo Electric.
Breakers and panels have a lifespan of approximately 30 years. If your panel is older than that, you should, at the very least, have it assessed by a professional. “Not only will a new panel ensure your home remains safe, but it will give you the extra space you need for all the new circuits you will be required to run for the renovation,” Luongo says.
And while the walls are open, he also recommends replacing as much wiring as possible. “By upgrading the wiring, you ensure there are no nicks or potential short circuits hiding in the walls after you finish the renovation.”
Plan your furniture layout
It might seem like you’re putting the cart before the horse to plan your furniture layout before you even finish your renovation, but it can actually save you some heartache in the future. “You’re setting yourself up for using extension cords by not planning furniture layouts,” warns Josh McCormick, VP of Operations at Mr. Electric.
“Failing to do so may leave you with all your receptacles blocked by bookshelves, sofas or beds,” McCormick says. “In addition, you may end up putting too great a load on one receptacle by using extension cords to get around poorly placed or too few receptacles.” And improper extension cord use can result in both fire and tripping hazards.
Check your insulation
“While the home, or parts of it, are opened up, I would highly suggest checking the insulation and adding new insulation as needed,” advises Nathan Outlaw, President of Onvico, a construction company in Thomasville, GA. “Many older homes don’t have adequate insulation and upgrading can help save on future energy costs.”
Luongo agrees and explains that many older homes were framed with 2 x 4 exterior walls – and either were not insulated at all or were insulated poorly. “We recommend, at a minimum, building out your walls to a 6″ depth and replacing the old insulation with new insulation.” Plus, he says new insulation can also absorb sounds and help to stop fire from spreading.
Upgrade your plumbing pipes and drains
If you’re adding a new bathroom or renovating an existing one, you may be thinking of ways to incorporate the latest trends in bathroom technology. That’s because your bathroom needs have probably changed. “We want hotter showers for longer, and a bathroom in every bedroom,” Luongo says. “Gone are the days of one toilet and bath for the entire family.”
He recommends upgrading your plumbing to reduce the chances of leaks behind your brand new walls. “Old copper pipes and fittings slowly corrode over the years and become weaker. So it only makes sense to remove all the old piping that you can get to and upgrade it with new water lines.”
In fact, if you see grey plastic piping, Luongo says that’s definitely a sign to redo your plumbing. “This older grey piping is called Polybutylene Pipe (Poly B) and is notorious for causing floods,” he says. “It only has a lifespan of 12 years and starts rapidly deteriorating after that.”
“The Poly B pipe reacts and oxidizes with the chlorine in our water supply, which makes the pipe brittle,” he explains. “Eventually, the pipe fails. At this point, many cracks in the pipe cause large amounts of damage in short periods of time,” Luongo says.
Examine your subfloor
If you’re renovating your bathroom, it makes no sense to build on a faulty foundation. “Check the bathroom’s subfloor and, if it’s damaged, go ahead and replace it with a new one,” Outlaw says. “I have seen individuals try to save money by skipping this step. It can often come back to haunt them as they deal with future problems.”
Add security cameras
If you’re thinking about getting a security system, this may be the time to add it. Outlaw recommends adding cameras and a security system to the outside of the home while the walls are open. “Even a cheap system running on your home wifi can give peace of mind while on vacations or sleeping at night,” he says.