10 tips to Save Money on your Renovation

Image Source: Moneycontrol.com

So here you are, ready to start a new renovation project. Surely, one big thing on your mind right now is the money that you’ll be spending. You’ll have plenty of people come to you and try to increase your budget, but we’re here to suggest a few ways you might be able to save money on your project.

  1. Compare quotes from a couple of companies
    • Don’t just go with the cheapest, look at the detailed specifications closely and judge professionalism
    • Often your local contractors will leave smaller details out which impact costing later on, or won’t tell you the brand of material they plan to use thereby reducing your quote in order to get the project.
    • A professional with proper documentation and scope definition up front leaves less ambiguity for some of these scenarios
    • Professionalism comes at a cost in the short term, but in the longer run
    • Note: BuildingBlox is happy to discuss any other competitive quote you might have received (that includes details)
  2. Commercial tiles where its not visible (behind kitchen cupboards)
  3. Repair doors & windows & get them polished instead of putting new ones
  4. Pick and choose where you want to spend more (e.g. hardware is a good idea)
  5. Designs – if you’re one for trendy designs, keep in mind that you might have want to redo it once the trend changes in a few years, at which point it will be expensive. Consider going with something that you will like for a longer time for items that are harder and more expensive to change (e.g. tiles, flooring)
  6. Make sure your specifications are as detailed as possible. The more you detail out and think of up front, the less likely you’ll want to make changes, which then cost money and time. In other words do invest some time and money in planning up front
  7. Bathroom design suggestion – use basic sanitaryware but pick nicer taps, faucets
  8. Plan 10-15% for contingencies because it does happen
  9. Reuse components if possible
    1. Wood chaukhats, doors for example. Other wood if sure its termite free
    2. Glass if you are replacing windows or partitions
    3. Latches
    4. Electrical fixtures, appliances – fans, lights, ACs, gysers
    5. Kitchen appliances – microwave, oven, toaster, mixer, fridge
      (take a look at our appliance calculator sheet to budget your appliance costs)
    6. Furniture
  10. Products
    1. Pick product brands that fit your price segment. E.g. Jaquar, Kajaria/Nitco, Crabtree fall in the midrange good quality product band. One can always go up the price range but you don’t need to if you’re trying to save money
    2. Use 1-2 shops to make your purchases as opposed to spreading them out. That allows you to negotiate better

 

Wooden or uPVC Windows and Doors

Updated Feb 2019

Doors and Windows today are not just restricted to being made of wood, but are also done in UPVC and aluminum. When it comes to windows, in our experience, more and more people are opting for UPVC over wood. This post should help you get a quick sense for the plusses and minuses of one over the other.

UPVC Windows and Doors

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A shift from wooden to UPVC windows and doors is happening in India because UPVC tends to cost a little less and requires less maintenance over its lifetime. They are less susceptible to moisture, which also helps in our hot and humid environments. They are also fire proof and termite resistant to top it all off.

Where UPVC doesn’t score well is in their design and color selection compared to their wooden counterparts.

In terms of brands of UPVC windows and doors in the Indian market today, you’ll find Finesta, Encraft

Wooden Doors and Windows

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Wood is a good insulator, and therefore provides better protection from the heat and cold than other materials. Wooden windows are also eco-friendlier, given they use wood (natural) vs. PVC (manufactured) and also require less energy to manufacture. Most of all they tend to look better than UPVC windows and doors. If maintained well, wooden doors and windows tend to last longer than UPVC.

On the flip side they are more expensive to make, require more time and money to maintain, and under moist/humid weather conditions show more wear & tear. For your reference, our experience suggests that the cost of wooden doors and windows is around 50% higher than UPVC. However, if you’re still looking to go with new wooden doors, you might consider reusing the existing frame (chaukhat) and save some money.

Repairing Old Doors & Windows

If you don’t need new doors and windows you could always consider the repair option. A good carpenter can fix up your old wooden window and frame, and the painters can help paint or polish it to make them as good as new. This turns out much cheaper than any of the above.

PLEASE NOTE: In both the wood based options above, please make sure you don’t have termites (deemak) in any of your other woodwork or else you risk it spreading to any new wood being brought in.

New False Ceiling in your Home

Updated Feb 2019

If you’re remodeling an old house or apartment, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about false ceilings. False ceilings have become a central feature of modern homes today, and come in various shapes and forms. False ceiling, coupled with the right ceiling lighting helps give your space a cozier feel. Here’s a quick intro to the types of false ceilings out there today for homes.

POP False Ceilings

theconstructor-pop-false-ceiling

Plaster of Paris false ceilings are typically found in residences today. The ornate patterns you see on some ceilings, and along the edges of ceilings are done using POP. It takes a good quality craftsman to make elegant/intricate patterns, so choose wisely. POP is applied to a metal mesh (murga jaali), and suspended from the ceiling on metal channels. POP ceilings allow a lot more options in terms of design as compared to Gypsum ceilings. The picture above represents one type of ceiling possible with POP. You can do many more, including the one you see below under Gypsum ceilings.

Gypsum False Ceilings

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Gypsum boards are manufactured by pressing gypsum between two sheets of paper or cardboard. Something you may not know is that Plaster of Paris is actually gypsum as well. Gypsum boards are easy to work with given they are light, and can be cut/drilled into easily. These boards are usually placed on a metal grid and fastened, and the joints between boards are filled and smoothened. The joints if not done properly can start to crack and give a shabby appearance some years down the road. Gypsum false ceilings are easier to construct, and take less time to dry and waterproof than POP ceilings but don’t allow the same range of designs that one can achieve with POP ceilings. So if your false ceiling design allows for both options, one would recommend using Gypsum boards over POP.

POP Cornice

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You may hear the term POP Cornice used and wonder what it is. It is the POP edging one sees usually along the edges of the wall & ceiling. Some part of these may be readymade and installed by a craftsman.

Wooden Panel False Ceiling

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Wooden false ceilings can give you a great look, however they are expensive not easy to maintain. As with most things wooden, they are prone to attacks by termites and other insects, and can wear out quickly in the presence of moisture. Regular termite protection is essential, and one must hope that the room isn’t prone to seepage from above.

Alternatively, if you’re just interested in a wooden look, you could consider High Pressure Laminate (HPL) or PVC options with a wooden finish. Both HPL and PVC ceilings will be cheaper and more resistant to bugs and moisture than wood. Between the two, HPL will likely be more expensive than PVC.

Other Types of False Ceilings

Other types of False ceilings include: PVC false ceiling (in other non-wooden styles), Glass false ceiling, Acrylic false ceiling, and Metal false ceiling. These are less common in residential spaces, and tend to be used in offices, shops, and other commercial establishments.

How much does False Ceiling Cost?

Surely you’re wondering what a false ceiling might cost you in your home. If you’re looking at a simple Gypsum false ceiling it would cost Rs. 85-95/sqft. If you want some design then you’d be looking at a POP false ceiling costing between Rs. 110-120/sqft.  However, if you’re just looking for a POP cornice that would go at about Rs. 35-40/running foot. These estimates are based on rates in Delhi NCR, and are always subject to the design + scope of work.

Budgeting your kitchen renovation

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It’s never easy to commit to a kitchen renovation. One is always concerned about the noise, disruption and the cost of renovating. While some disruption during the process is inevitable, at least when it comes to budgeting your project we can help. Here are a few tips on how to establish a renovation budget.
Identify what you want to keep
If looking to do the project within a budget one should consider re-using parts of their existing kitchen. Your oven, fridge, chimney and hob could be reused if in proper condition. If you are fine with the location of your water inlets and outlets then you can save on redoing the plumbing, and the same is true for electrical work. You might even consider reusing the original flooring.
Set priorities
What is the goal of the renovation? Do you want to Increase space, change the look and feel, or make it more functional for your changing requirements? Make a priority list of what you care about, this will help you pick and choose tasks when fitting the renovation into your budget.

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Modular Kitchen Renovation Cost Breakdown
Most modular kitchen companies will give you a rate that seems quite low, but one must note that they are only referring to the cabinets. When it comes to a holistic budget one needs to consider the cost of plumbing, electrical, tiling, painting etc.
The cost of renovating a typical 8’X 10’ size kitchen with branded materials and midrange specifications should be around Rs. 4 Lacks. The budget break down per task is as follows:
Modular cabinets: 40% (includes good quality hardware, and laminate finish)
Electrical: 17% (includes hob, chimney, fans and geyser)
Plumbing: 11% (includes kitchen sink and faucet)
Tiles: 7% (floor and walls)
Doors and Windows: 12%
False ceiling: 3% (includes recessed lights)
Kitchen Counter: 3%
Misc. civil work: 7% (includes demolition of existing kitchen, waterproofing, painting etc.)
Please note that this budget doesn’t include larger appliances such as a fridge, OTG or microwave oven.
Also it is always advisable to keep an additional 15% of the budget available for unplanned tasks that might come up once your old kitchen is removed.
This basic thumb rule guide should get you on the right track in terms of preparing a budget, you can go high end with your cabinet finishes if your budget allows it, or cut some costs down by choosing not to redo the electricals and plumbing as mentioned before.
And finally to avoid going above budget, stick to the plan
How much extra you spend is completely dependent on you, once you have decided on a reasonable number, stick to it. Making changes through the course of a project leads to cascading budget increases that will surprise you at the end.
Hope these tips help you plan your upcoming kitchen renovation.

Do I Need an Architect?

Being in the business of home renovations one often gets asked for architect recommendations. One of the first things we like to ask them is what is it that you’re really looking for. Most of the times it turns out that there is little need for an architect. So we thought we’d try to explain the difference between professionals in this space.

 

Architects

Architects are trained, certified and have a college degree (undergrad, or masters) to show for it. The main job of an architect is to conceptualise the space in terms of the structure (floor, walls, ceilings) and plan layouts. They tend to have specialists on their teams for structural evaluations, plumbing and electrical planning. If you’re constructing a new floor, or a building you need to get an architect involved to make sure the planning is sound. While its not their core skillset, some architects get involved with the interiors and take on things like floorings, walls, ceilings, and even décor & furniture.

 

Interior Designer or Decorator

Interior designers focus on the interiors of a space. They help you make your space more livable/usable by suggesting how your rooms should look, how can you organize your furniture, what color theme you could pick for your bedroom and so on. They can also help you pick things like the right tiles for your bathroom, the marble for the flooring keeping in mind the overall chosen look and feel.

 

Contractor

The contractor is the one who gets the work done – i.e. the demolition, civil, plumbing, painting etc. There is a category of contractors called the general contractors who have teams, either on payroll or as affiliates who can help execute all your requirements. Then there are specialist contractors who only execute one type of task (e.g. painting contractor). Whatever your project involves, you will have a contractor on site. Even if a designer or architect says they do turnkey projects they will be working with a contractor to execute.

 

Project Manager

A project manager is someone who keeps track of your project and makes sure work is proceeding on time. It is their responsibility to firefight in case of issues, remind you when certain product decisions need to be made by, and push the contractors when their teams are not showing up on time. As with PMs in any organization, a good construction PM is an extremely useful resource during the execution of the project.

Maximize your bathroom storage

While bathrooms are usually the smallest room in the house, they tend to have a lot of stuff in them and usually this leads to clutter, everyone would love a little more space in the bathroom, but most of us don’t have the luxury of a large apartments with ample square feet available. Here are some ideas on how to maximize storage space in smaller bathrooms and make them feel more functional and spacious.

Use narrow cabinets to fit into wasted spaces, maximize every square inch.

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Add a shelf above your sink, this can be used for placing items that are needed often.

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Use spice racks for makeup and toiletries.

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Hang your towels behind the door, why waste wall space when you can use the door.

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Increase the hanging rod space.

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Stick shelving above your door, another space that is usually wasted.

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Maximize the area above your toilet, don’t neglect this space.

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Medicine cabinets are a classic space saving item, there are quite a few designs available in the market.

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Add a long cabinet to your bathroom vanity, if you have a little space after your sink dont waste it.

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We hope these tips will help make your bathroom experience more pleasant! Let us know if you have some innovative ideas to maximise bathroom storage in the comments section.

What goes into a Bathroom Renovation

If you’re tearing down and renovating a bathroom, you may not know what exactly it involves. All you may have seen are bathroom designs you’ve found online and shared with your contractor. Here’s a brief checklist to educate yourself.

 

Bathroom Demolition
The first step is tearing down the existing bathroom. It could be entirely internal if the walls don’t need to be moved. Specifically you may need to remove the wall tiles, floor tiles, fittings, and woodwork. Demolition always goes hand in hand with debris removal, so make sure you have someone to manage it for you (contractor or 3rd party).

Lighting & Electricals
A well-lit bathroom makes your daily experience a lot more pleasant. Given that false ceilings are becoming common practice in the bathrooms nowadays, ceiling lighting can be considered. As for the rest of the electricals make sure to provision for a water heater, at least 1-2 open points for things like an electric razor or hair dryer, a pressure pump if needed, and an AC if you feel like splurging.

Bathroom Plumbing
Plumbing is fairly typical in a bathroom. Check your water pressure before the walls are plastered up and the fixtures are installed, so that if pipe routing needs to be adjusted, or provisions for a pump need to be made it’s a LOT easier.

Waterproofing your Bathroom
It is extremely critical to get waterproofing right. We recommend that you waterproof the floor and about half the height of the walls in the bathroom for extra protection. This is done before any tiles or flooring is installed.

Bathroom Tiles
There are plenty of options out there for bathroom wall tiles. It all comes down to your choice and budget. From multiple Indian and imported wall tile brands, to unbranded ‘Gujarat’ tiles, you’ll find a lot out there. If you have storage space, buy an extra box for later (years to come). Sometimes you need to break a small section of the walls to resolve plumbing problems and matching tiles come in handy.

Flooring
You can use tiles, marble, or granite for your bathroom flooring.

False Ceiling 

It’s not uncommon nowadays to have a false ceiling in your bathroom. Keep it simple would be our suggestion. One downside of false ceiling is that if there is some kind of water seepage from the floor above, the false ceiling will need to be replaced. Regular ceilings on the other hand are cheaper to fix.

Woodwork
You may choose to get some storage constructed under your sink (vanity), or elsewhere in the bathroom if you have space. This comes in handy to store things like bathroom cleaners, towels, soaps, shampoos etc. Using waterproof board is a good idea to give your cabinets extra protection against moisture.

Counter Top
You may want to put in a granite/marble counter top around your washbasin based on the type of look you’re going for.

Doors & Windows
More and more people today are choosing UPVC doors and windows. While UPVC doors may not quite work out in the bathroom, windows are a good idea given UPVC is more resistant to moisture than wood and last longer.

Shower Enclosure

A modern bathroom today isn’t complete without a shower enclosure. It adds character and utility to your bathroom. Toughened glass is pricy, so an enclosure adds a significant expense to your bathroom renovation.

Bathroom Fittings
Last but not the least is the bathroom fixtures, which includes your washbasin, WC, and plumbing fixtures like your shower fittings, sink faucet, and WC faucet. The pricing of these vary vastly depending on the brand you choose. Some of the brands in the market include Hindware, Jaquar, Kohler, Grohe.

 

 

Reducing air pollution during home renovations

One of the biggest contributors to indoor air pollution in apartment buildings are home renovations. If not done carefully the dust and chemicals spread through the ducts and shafts and are able to cause damage to quite a few residents. While there is no way to completely remove this unfortunate side effect of home remodeling, there are things that can be done to keep it in check.

Painting walls of an empty room. Renovation house.
TIMING
Whenever possible, work at a time when residents are likely to be out; 9 AM to around 6 PM is a fair window. While it is tempting to maximize working hours, it starts to become disruptive to the other residents.
BARRIERS AND CONTAINMENT
Cover all ducts and openings in the apartment during the process, this will contain the particles and one can control the damage.
Keep containers of paint and other chemicals closed whenever possible. And keep it all confined to as small an area as possible, for example if painting a room, keep the door closed and windows open so that the chemicals aren’t spreading to the other rooms unnecessarily.

Painting supplies

CLEANING
Get the site cleaned every day at the end of the day. Remove debris in proper containers. Also ensure that workers on site, clean their feet and clothes before leaving a site so as to not spread particulate around the area.

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VENTILATION
Keep the appropriate windows open and consider putting a standing fan on site to be able to direct the air out.
STAY OUT
And finally the most basic thing to do, stay away from a work site as much as possible, if inspecting the site make sure work is stopped and the site has been ventilated. Wear a mask whenever you do visit. Definitely keep children and pets far away from site.

Keep these tips in mind when renovating or share them with anyone who is planning a renovation, a little consideration will go a long way to improve the indoor air quality in your building.

Home Renovation on a fixed budget

Blog Cover Renovation Budget

 

Source: Houzz.com

If you’re thinking of renovating your home, you’re surely starting to wonder how much does a renovation cost. Often design professionals and storeowners you meet will ask you what’s your renovation / product budget. Early on in the process of renovating your home this can be a very tough question. In this post we will lay out some fixed budget renovation plans to help you start to understand pricing.

 

The 5 Lakh, 10 Lakh, 20 Lakh Home Renovation

Based on projects BuildingBlox has completed for 3BHK clients, we have compiled a suggestion list for you. We assume the use of mid-range, good quality products from brands such as Jaquar, Kajaria, and Merino Laminates.

The Rs. 5 Lakh home renovation is for those who are looking to revitalize their home without a complete overhaul. The Rs. 10 Lakh home renovation is for those with a reasonable budget who are looking to get most things upgraded. The Rs. 20 Lakh home renovation is for those who would like a complete redesign of their space.

 

3BHK 5 Lakh 10 Lakh 20 Lakh
Kitchen Y Y
Bathrooms 1 3
Flooring 5 rooms 5 rooms 5 rooms
False Ceiling 5 rooms 5 rooms 5 rooms
Painting Y Y Y
Windows (UPVC) Y
Electricals Y Y Y
Lighting Some Y
Woodwork TV Unit TV Unit Wardrobes, TV Unit
Appliances Kitchen, few others Kitchen, ACs, Gysers
Furniture Not Included Not Included Not Included

 

For those of you looking for a new kitchen, but lacking a very large budget can consider an alternative 5L plan. This would entail a new modular kitchen, basic appliances (hob, chimney), new flooring and false ceiling in your living room, and a full apartment repaint.

 

Update March 2019

Here are three basic types of renovation packages to consider, each one has their pro’s and con’s so go through each package and see which one suits you best.

Spruce Up

Lasts 2-3 yrs

Trigger: Need to freshen up home interiors quickly, usually every few years

Features: Fast and cheap

Drawback: No changes can be made to the layout of the home, limited options for designs as basic elements like doors, windows, flooring etc. are retained.

 

TASKS INCLUDED:

Woodwork

Painting 

Shower enclosure 

 

Make Over

Lasts 4-5 years, can last upto 7 years depending on condition of existing electrical, plumbing etc.

Trigger: Complete home interiors redesign, usually when moving into a new home

Features: Efficient and reasonable budget, almost any room design is possible

Drawback: Limited changes to layout

 

TASKS INCLUDED:

False ceiling 

Woodwork

Painting 

Shower enclosure 

Windows

Door repair

 

Full home renovation

Last 7-8 years

Trigger: Old homes with dated infrastructure (electrical, plumbing, waterproofing), Or changes in lifestyle, when one is looking to re-plan their layout.

Features: New locations for plumbing and electrical points are possible; rooms can be added and subtracted, fundamental upgrades like waterproofing included.

Drawback: Takes some time to plan and execute. These kinds of upgrades can be expensive but add more value to the property in the long run.

 

TASKS INCLUDED:

False ceiling 

Woodwork

Painting 

Shower enclosure 

Flooring 

Windows

Doors

Electrical

Plumbing 

AC points

Waterproofing

5 Tips to a Smoother Home Renovation

Updated on 26th March, 2019

It is natural for homeowners about to embark on a remodeling project to have a lot of insecurities about the process. How will the final output turn out? Will the project stay within my budget? How long will it take before I can move into my new space? On top of that the noise and mess is extremely unpleasant and frustrating.
So here are a few things to keep in mind that will help you deal with the process that is about to unfold in your home.

Plan your Home Renovation
Have every detail of the process mapped out before starting work on site. Identify your vendors, make space for storing materials, figure out your building approvals and speak to your neighbors to let them know (including the apartment above and below). This is where BuildingBlox can add significant value to you.

For example: When planning a new floor you have to think about materials and size. Depending on the room you’ll have to choose between glossy or non skid tiles. The size of the tile will determine the amount of time it’ll take to install. Grouting between tiles will need to be budgeted for, as well as the PCC layer under the tiles. Our project plan keeps these factors in mind.

Buy your Renovation Materials/Products
Make a list of materials required on site and divide them into 3-4 lists based on when they are required on site. For example, if you are redoing your kitchen, you’ll need your floor tiles a lot earlier than your counter stone or chimney, this will help you deal with a manageable amount of decision making, and avoid rushing through selections.

Trust your Renovation Contractor
Once you have interviewed a few contractors and are ready to hire one, ask yourself this, do you trust them? It is very important that they seem trust worthy to you otherwise the project is sure to be derailed. Once you have established a certain level of trust make it a point to allow them to manage the project in their way and resist the urge to micro manage the process.

Schedule Contractor Payments alongside Milestones
Payment schedules are key, decide the project amount and make a schedule with dates for the release of payments to vendors, it is advisable to link the payments with milestones so that the contractor is pressured to stick to a work sequence, this way you don’t have to deal with sporadic requests for money.

Create a Renovation Contract
Document all change requests, include budget increase and extra time required, and treat it like a mini contract agreement so that the bill at the end of the project doesn’t surprise you. Also allow the contractor time to plan and execution these changes.

Although this might seem like lot of planning for a seemingly simple remodeling project, it will save you a lot of inconvenience as the project progresses, and it’s totally worth the effort.

Update: since we wrote this post there have been a few more that we think are useful for us to add on, so here they are:

Minimize changes during the project
We know this is hard but keep in mind every change causes disruptions even if it seems small to you

Make your decisions on time
The slightest of delays from your end throw off planning from the contractors and that ends up leading to more delays than you think. (e.g. you only delayed it by a day but then the team that’s waiting for your decision is now occupied for another 4 which leads to a 5 day delay that keeps on growing)

Get professional oversight/quality checking
You might have the best contracting team in the world for every task but an independent observer will find problems that you wouldn’t, and make suitable recommendations to fix them