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7 Great Online Renovation Resources

In a few short years, the internet has changed how homeowners approach home renovation projects.  From looking at pictures for ideas, to searching online to find a reputable renovation contractor, the internet is a great resource to begin planning your renovation.  Below we have listed some of the best online renovation resources that are available to homeowners.

1.  Houzz

The premier online collection of photos of custom homes and remodeled spaces.  Houzz users can view spaces by project type (ie: kitchen, bathroom), by style (ie: traditional, contemporary) and other criteria.  A great feature is the ability to create your own Ideabook, which allows you collect photos of projects you like, and share them with others who will be participating in your renovation project, for example, your spouse, your architect, or your contractor.

2.  Design Software

Many free software packages can be found online, which will allow you to start designing your new space, place furniture, and be able to envision what the new space will look like.  One of our favorite online programs is SoftPlan Studio.

3.  RenoMark

Started by the Toronto Homebuilders Association, RenoMark has expanded nationally.  The site provides renovation advice, a Renovation Guide, and a searchable database of premier renovation contractors.  Inspire Homes has been an approved RenoMark renovator since 2008.

4. WSIB

Hiring a properly insured contractor is important, and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) is making it easy to check online if a contractor is insured, and if their insurance premiums are paid.  You can conduct your search here, and you’ll be surprised how many contractors you will find that are operating without insurance.  And always ask for a copy of the Contractor’s General Liability Insurance as well.

5. Tarion

This is for custom homes, not renovations – but if you’re thinking about building a new home, your builder is required to be Tarion registered.  You can search online here.

6. TACBOC

For the serious Do-It-Yourselfer, this is a great resource to show how to properly build various parts of a home – from building a deck, to adding a basement entrance.  The Toronto Area Chief Building Officials Committee (TACBOC) has created standard drawings to show what is acceptable, and some municipalities have posted this information online.

7. CHMC

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has compiled large amounts of information, and has made these Renovation Fact Sheets available to the public through its website.

Bonus: Worst Renovation Resource

Online Renovation Cost Calculator – Many websites offer online renovation cost calculators, or house addition cost calculators.  These calculators are often not updated with the latest cost information, and the ones we have tested were wildly inaccurate.

The cost of a renovation or house addition project will vary greatly, depending on the size of the project, age of the home, site conditions, level or finish, etc.   Contact a reputable renovation contractor – you can find many at RenoMark.ca.    Have two or three some out and look at your home, discuss you needs, and provide you with an estimate or a budget.