For many of us, 2020 presented the opportunity to become intimately acquainted with our homes. Spending more time at home than ever before certainly posed its challenges, but it also came with many benefits: it gave us an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of our surroundings and to dream about how we can further enhance them. Perhaps this is why many neighbourhoods saw a surge in home improvement projects, from DIY interior paint jobs to contracted-out deck additions.
These smaller home improvement projects are easy to find estimates for, but if you’re dreaming a little bigger - let’s say about a second-story home addition or a whole home renovation - it’s time to call in the professionals. Of course, every home and home project has a unique size and scope, so the best way to receive an accurate quote tailored to your particular project is to contact your home renovation partner. If you prefer to do some preliminary research to prep your pocketbook, however, this article is for you.
Average Costs Per Square Foot: Whole Home Renovations and Additions
The size and the extent of home improvement projects can vary greatly, but let’s start with some preliminary numbers for whole home renovations and additions. We have gathered these numbers based on our own renovation projects for homes in Toronto’s finer neighbourhoods.
The average cost per square foot for whole home renovations and additions ranges between $275 and $450. So if you’re remodeling a small home space or adding an addition of 2,000 square feet, your total renovation cost would be approximately $550,000 to $900,000. If you’re remodeling a larger home space of 5,500 square feet, your renovation cost would be between $1,512,500 and $2,475,000. Why is this cost range so large? We’ll discuss the factors that influence pricing in depth below.
What Makes Your Cost Per Square Foot Higher or Lower: Whole Home Renovations and Additions
Renovations and Additions: Ceiling Height
We saw above how the square footage of a home renovation influences its overall cost, but it’s important to remember that size is a factor for vertical space as well as horizontal space. In other words, if you plan to add an addition with vaulted ceilings - whether you’re building up, out, or down - your cost will be higher than if you opt for standard ceiling heights. This applies to remodels as well as additions.
Additions: Location of the Addition and Existing Home Construction
While the particularities of each home, its architecture, and its location play a part in determining the cost of your addition, it’s generally true that building out is less expensive than building up. When you build up, you have to demolish your ceilings and alter your roof line, and sometimes you must also update your foundation to prepare it to bear extra weight. When you build out, you typically only need to alter the ceiling, wall, and foundation structure for the particular area you’re adding on to. (Be aware, however, that in many areas, zoning restrictions must be taken into account.)
The type of construction used for your existing home also impacts the cost of your addition. For example, double wide brick can be harder to add onto than a wood-framed house, partly for structural reasons and partly because it’s harder to match materials seamlessly. Be sure to ask your home renovation contractor about pricing variables when adding onto double wide brick, wood-framing, brick veneer, and siding.
Renovations and Additions: Architectural Complexity
Whether you’re remodeling your home or installing an addition, the complexity and uniqueness of the architecture plays a role in the cost of your project. Renovations and additions completed in a standard style are less expensive than experimental and complex architecture.
Renovations and Additions: Number and Type of High-End Finishes
Including multiple luxury finishes throughout your whole home renovation or addition will also make your project more expensive. If you need to reduce your expenditure, consider limiting the number or location of high-end finishes.
Renovations and Additions: Your Home’s Location
Another factor that plays into price but is often overlooked is the location of your house and the property surrounding it. A house that is far from your contractor and work crews or a house that is difficult to access with standard construction machines, tools, and materials will be more expensive to renovate or add onto than a home that is easy to access.
Renovations and Additions: Your Timeline
When we say “timeline,” we’re not speaking of how long the project itself takes to complete. Instead, consider that the longer you wait to tackle your home renovation or addition project, the more the market is likely to appreciate. Historically for the Toronto area, we’ve seen that the market has appreciated for about the last 10 years by approximately 5% to 10% every year (see Zillow’s Ontario home value index report for reference.) In other words, if you are planning your home renovation for a year or two into the future, be sure to pad your budget accordingly. If you would like a tailored quote for your particular project, do not hesitate to contact us.