Bumping out or bumping up?

Having the expertise of quality home renovation builders and designers means there’s a huge amount of possibility when it comes to modifying your house. For many timber-framed homes, house extensions are an option as well as raising and building underneath. Like anything with home renovations, there’s pros and cons for both options.

 

The cost could be significantly different

House extension costs can vary hugely depending on the plans, but if you’re looking at just a small addition to your home, an extension could be lower in cost than raising. Raising and building underneath means a new concrete slab; whereas for many extensions, a slab isn’t required. It all comes down to what you’re trying to achieve with your home renovation: if it’s simply adding a room or two, or opening up the space, raising the house would probably be a costlier option that isn’t even suitable for your needs.

 

You could sacrifice a blank slate

When raising a home, the new level underneath often has to mirror the upstairs layout: foundations and load-bearing walls need to be put in particular spots to support the upper level. By contrast however, with house extensions you could have the opportunity for a blank slate. Depending on the size of your lot and how it’s laid out, you might have more freedom with the configuration of your new space.

 

Speed is key!

Raising a house can be a lengthier process, simply because there’s often more prep work required before the build can commence. Not only does the house have to be raised, but it needs re-stumping; the land underneath will often need to be excavated and levelled; and finally, the new concrete slab will need to be poured and set. Obviously for many house extensions, the majority of those steps can be skipped: while some excavation and levelling may still be necessary, the biggest time-saving is the absence of a concrete slab – which can take up to four weeks to cure before building can even start!

 

Ultimately, whether you bump up or bump out will depend on what you’re trying to achieve with your renovation; the layout of your existing structure; and how much space you have to work with. Hille’s home renovation builders and designers are on hand to help guide you in the right direction – give us a call today to find out more.

 

Scrimp vs Splurge with your House Renovation

Home renovations are a considerable investment, and probably something that’s been your savings goal for a while. On the flip side, if you’re lucky enough to have a big budget, house extension costs won’t be as much of an issue (lucky you!). For most builds, there’s opportunity to both scrimp on some things and save some money, as well as spend on other items that are worth the extra dosh.

Here are our tips for where you can save your pennies and when it might be okay to let loose a bit.

 

Design

Scrimp: if you’re doing a house extension, see if you can add the new area on without reconfiguring your existing floor plan. It will likely save you a lot if you can make minimal adjustments to your existing structure.

Scrimp: if raising a house, align the new wet areas underneath the old ones above. This will save on plumbing costs.

Splurge: extra windows may cost more but they’re usually worth it. In cool climates, placing windows where they’ll catch the morning sun could even help reduce your heating bill.

Splurge: similarly, houses in hot weather climates need to consider their position with the sun. Typically, the north side of the house will get the most sun in the morning, so you could make sure those areas are well-shaded with a covered verandah, or trees and vegetation. You could also consider glazing or shutters so that you can keep the sun out during the hot parts of the day.

 

Flooring

Scrimp: there’s a myriad of flooring options, so do your research if you’re on a budget. Vinyl plank is a low-cost product that’s gaining popularity, while even tiles can vary hugely in product and installation costs. Generally, rectified tiles and small tiles will be more expensive as they take more time to install.

 

Wet areas

Scrimp: floor-to-ceiling tiles look fantastic but make costs skyrocket. Consider doing a tiled skirting, then just tiling to the ceiling near the sink and behind the shower. You’ll still get that wow factor, but for less. You can also achieve a high-impact look on a budget by using a contrasting feature tile for a vanity backsplash, rather than an entire wall.

 

The kitchen

Splurge: a good rule of thumb is to splurge in the rooms you love the most. If you’re a foodie and cook a lot, consider nifty options like custom cabinets, soft-close drawers, and a huge pantry. Even people who don’t cook often find themselves in the kitchen a lot, entertaining friends – in which case, you’ll notice wear and tear on a cheap benchtop pretty fast.

 

The bedroom

Scrimp: if you’ve got a walk-in wardrobe, leaving the shelving open can save money, plus it makes everything easily accessible.

 

Power

Scrimp: gorgeous pendant lights look fantastic but can drive up costs. Work with your electrician instead on how to make the most of the space with simple LED downlights. Lamps can add a bit of style and colour.

Splurge: energy efficient bulbs are a case of pay now, save later. They may cost more than incandescent bulbs, but they’ll immediately reduce your electricity bill.

Splurge: solar heating could be a house renovation cost you didn’t initially consider, but it can ultimately save you some money on your electricity bill in the long run. It will also help with your property’s energy star rating – remember, other options for achieving your energy rating may end up being more costly than solar.

 

Home extension costs can add up, but if you do your research, you’ll make sure the money is being spent on the areas that matter the most.

Landscaping Projects for your Home Renovation that Could Improve the Value of your Home.

Most home renovation work we do involve the owner getting some kind of landscaping work done. If you are in need to know what project to focus on for your home renovation project – because not all landscaping work can add value to your home. Here are some that will.

 

Build a deck

What Aussie doesn’t love a deck? So this is no-brainer for any backyard, large or small. The great feature of any deck is that it basically adds another room to your home renovation – and you can create an outdoor living area for relaxing or entertaining.

 

Lay new lawn

Getting a new lawn is a great idea if your current lawn is looking worse for wear or non-existent in places. We find this a very popular option when some do their home renovation as it’s like the cherry on top of the proverbial desert. If you are looking at a new lawn and then put your property on the market then this feature will impress buyers at an open house and is sure to enhance your kerb appeal.

Add an outdoor room

Together with a deck, and outdoor room is a great way to add value to your home renovation. Some real estate agents will quote it as an additional room in their advertising –

though it does need to be well integrated and to warrant this. If you have a patio, roofing it and adding furniture may be all it takes to create an outdoor room.

 

Lay paving

Paving is a relatively low-cost addition to your home renovation and can definitely add some value to your home, and like decking, it can make an area more practical and useful. This is especially true for patios, pathways, garden paths and the area around a swimming pool.

Keep it all maintained

It’s all very well investing in improving your garden, but so many people then neglect all the hard work later. Neglecting your backyard is basically throwing money away. Plants need to be watered, trimmed and fed, weeds need to be pulled and pools need to be maintained. If you get landscaping done at the same time as your home renovation, then have a plan to keep it maintained. Unlike your new space, your new garden will not look after yourself.

Landscape Design

Lets just be clear landscaping jobs that may not realise a return.
Just as there are projects that will add value to your home, think twice about some jobs – especially if you are doing a home renovation to sell later. You may not recover the costs or outlay of your job. Be prepared to increase your budget if you have any of these jobs on your list:

Excavation: if you live on a sloping block, or need large rocks removed this can take time, which always cost money

Retaining walls: these may also require excavation or the services of a structural engineer

Pool: installing a pool is a serious undertaking that is also a significant investment, so make sure you do your homework before you decide you want to take this on

Driveway: if you are paving or concreting your driveway be prepared to bump up your overall landscaping budget

You also need to know what type of landscaping professional is right for you and your job, as this can impact the overall cost of your project.

A landscape architect is more suited to large projects where all the various elements need to integrate. They focus more on the design and planning stages of your project but can also help supervise a project. To get this kind of attention will definitely cost more but it does come down to bang for buck.

A landscape designer, however, has a similar skill set to a landscape architect, though will generally work on smaller projects and therefore more affordable.

Landscape contractors, often also called landscapers, are another option. They can also handle design and should have great practical insights and advice to share about your project.

Hiring a professional landscaper ensures your new garden is landscaped cost effectively. They’ll also be able to suggest new ideas, show you innovative products and help you understand how to maintain your new garden which is important as you don’t invest in something that has no longevity.

When it comes time to hiring a landscaper make sure they are the right person for your job.

 

Some important questions to ask them could be the following:

Are you licensed for my project?

Do you hold valid insurance?

Can you provide a proper quote?

How long will my job approximately take?

Do you have references in the area I can follow up?

The best way of finding out the cost of your landscaping job is to get quotes from local landscapers. Be sure to provide enough details about your property, vision and budget – this will enable them to provide an accurate quote. Expect them to visit your property and chat through your ideas with you.

Like your home renovation, it always pays to do your research and do your homework for your landscaping job and only use reputable, and where possible licensed builders.