When we purchased the house we really did not have a good idea of how much it would cost to renovate. We figured it was cheaper than building a new house, but by how much was anyone's guess.
One of the first sources of information on renovations that we turned to was the book "Make It Right" by Mike Holmes. Besides providing good information about how a house is built, it was one of the only books we found that gave pricing guidelines for a home renovation in Canada. For example, Mike says that a kitchen reno can cost $10,000 to $40,000, bathrooms are between $10,000 and $20,000, basements cost $30,000 on average, while an addition is from $90 a square foot up to $360 a square foot. The average for an addition, he says, is $120 a square foot, which will give you the minimum code requirements - carpet, vinyl, possibly some ceramic in the bathroom, etc. Decks run about $5 a square foot while fences are about $12 per foot of fence.
Mike's estimates seem to be in line with information we got from architects and builders that we talked to in Ottawa. Most Architects we talked to said that renovating an existing space runs about $100 a square foot, while new construction (e.g. an addition or adding another floor) runs about $200 a square foot for decent quality construction. Oakwood, a design-build company with a long history in Ottawa, told us their new construction runs about $235 a square foot.
In the Fall/Winter edition of Ottawa Renovates magazine, a magazine produced in conjunction with the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association, there is an article where several Ottawa area builders are asked about construction costs. Depending on the builder, cost estimates were anywhere from $100 to $450 per square foot. Engel Construction, for example, councils that when budgeting for a whole-house renovation, plan for $100 per square foot, and then add costs for kitchen and bathrooms. Starting with a gutted space, a new kitched will range from $10,000 to $15,000 excluding counters and cabinets. Cabinets cost from $7,000 to $50,000 or more. A new bathroom can run from $10,000 to $15,000, says Engel. Similarly, Lagois Drafting and Construction ballparked costs at around $200 to $400 per square foot, plus their design fee. Luxury Renovations says that their projects usually run between $250 and $450 per square foot.
Don't forget that these costs are just for the construction. You also need to add on costs for landscaping and for the architect (if you use one), who sometimes cost as much as 15% of the overall construction budget.
What's your experience with the cost of a renovation? Was it cheaper or more expensive than the figures given above?