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The Ultimate Guide to Whole Home Renovations in Toronto: Everything You Need to Know

Toronto features countless of fantastic neighbourhoods offering stately old homes with character and charm. However, living in an older home can mean skipping modern conveniences and amentities.  If you're considering transforming your existing house into your dream home, you're in the right place. With our expertise in renovating old homes with extreme care and precision, we can guide you through the entire process of a whole home renovation, ensuring a seamless and satisfying experience. In this comprehensive guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about whole home renovations in Toronto, from permits and tree regulations to foundation challenges and renovation timelines.

Zinc modern cladding roof on architecturally designed custom home with trees in view

Do I Need an Architect for a Whole Home Renovation?

Hiring an architect is crucial for luxury whole home renovations. At SevernWoods Fine Homes, we specialize in construction and renovation, but an architect brings essential design expertise to ensure your vision is translated into a functional and well-planned space. While we are happy to work with your architect, we also have excellent relationships with leading architects in the area and can make recommendations based on your project and vision. An architect's knowledge of design, building codes, and regulations is invaluable in creating a harmonious blend of aesthetics and functionality. They will collaborate with our team to integrate the design seamlessly into the construction process.

Permit Process Primer

Before embarking on a whole home renovation project, it's crucial to understand the permit process in Toronto. Applying for and obtaining permits is an essential step to ensure compliance with local regulations. In Toronto, certain aspects of a home renovation may conflict with these regulations, such as changes to the exterior profile or setbacks. However, obtaining variances can be possible if you can demonstrate that the proposed changes meet specific criteria. Working back and forth with the permitting office and waiting for city approval can significantly extend your renovation timeline, especially if we need to change the plan when construction is already underway. The permit process timeline can vary depending on the complexity of the renovation and the workload of the local building department. Plan for a few months to receive final approval and secure the necessary permits to renovate your old home in Toronto.

Contemporary custom kitchen with flat panel cabinetry and island

Trouble With the Trees

Toronto's lush greenery adds beauty and character to the city, but it also presents challenges for whole-home renovations. As a homeowner, you'll need to navigate the process of obtaining permission to injure or remove trees on your property. Toronto has stringent regulations to protect its urban forest, and any tree-related work must comply with the city's bylaws. Depending on the tree's size, species, and health, you may need to acquire a permit or hire an arborist to assess its condition. Working with an experienced renovation contractor who understands tree regulations is essential to ensure compliance and preserve the natural environment. See our extensive blog on tree removal for residential construction in Toronto for a more detailed look at the rules.

stone exterior custom home with trees

Starting with a Firm Foundation

Working with a knowledgeable contractor who specializes in older home renovations is crucial for addressing foundation challenges effectively. Though this is true for every aspect of a Toronto renovation, we’ll illustrate our point with the details of renovating a home with a century-old foundation. Older homes in Toronto often come with foundations that pose unique challenges. Underpinning, the process of strengthening or extending the foundation, is often necessary to create a usable basement in these properties. Older Toronto homes commonly have three types of foundations: triple brick, rubble, and occasionally poured concrete. Each foundation type requires specific expertise to ensure stability and structural integrity during the renovation and future.

Can I Live in My Home During Renovation?

While some renovation projects may allow you to remain in your home, extensive whole-home renovations typically require alternative lodging. The construction process can be disruptive and messy, making it challenging to maintain a livable environment. Whole home renovations involve multiple areas and systems within the house, making it impractical to inhabit the space during the construction phase. To ensure safety, comfort, and an efficient workflow, it's advisable to find temporary accommodation during the renovation. 

How Much Does a Whole Home Renovation Cost in Toronto?

A whole home renovation in Toronto requires a significant investment, and it's essential to understand the cost factors involved. Generally, whole home renovations cost about as much per square foot as custom homes. This is due to the nature of the project, where you're essentially building something new and precise within the constraints of an existing structure. Additionally, older construction methods and the need to troubleshoot and repair decayed elements further contribute to the overall cost. SevernWoods provides transparent and detailed cost estimates, ensuring you have a clear understanding of the financial commitment involved in your dream home transformation. Please reference our cost guide for more detailed information.

Custom home living room and kitchen with floating stair case

How Long Does a Whole Home Renovation Take in Toronto?

The timeline for a whole home renovation in Toronto can vary depending on several factors. The size and complexity of the project, the level of customization, and unforeseen challenges that may arise during construction all contribute to the renovation duration. Generally, whole home renovations can take anywhere from several months to over a year to complete. See our detailed article on whole home renovation timelines for a granular breakdown of the factors and time ranges involved. It's essential to work with an experienced renovation contractor who can provide you with a realistic timeline based on your specific project. At SevernWoods Fine Homes, we pride ourselves on efficient project management and effective communication to ensure timely completion while maintaining the highest standards of craftsmanship.

natural stone wall in bathroom with floating vanity and freestanding tub

Ready to Transform Your Toronto Home?

Embarking on a whole home renovation journey in Toronto is an exciting opportunity to turn your current residence into the luxurious dream home you've always desired. SevernWoods Fine Homes is your trusted construction partner in this transformative process, offering expertise, creativity, and unparalleled craftsmanship. Contact us today to schedule a life-changing consultation. Your dream home awaits!

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