How much does it cost to renovate?

🕑 6 minute read

What is the cost of renovation?

Whether you are considering buying a house to renovate or want to improve or extend your home, this guide provides information on all the costs involved.

That includes building materials, labour costs, fixtures and fittings. Plus, the things you might not immediately think about, like planning permission fees, project management costs, skip and scaffolding hire.

What to think about when renovating

Planning permission

Before you pick up a sledgehammer, consider if you'll need planning permission. Usually, internal changes don’t require planning permission, though they might if the property is listed (registered as being of special interest architecturally or historically).

Like-for-like external changes, such as replacements of windows and doors, don’t usually require planning permission either. This may be different if your property is listed or in a conservation area.

Additions like extensions and conservatories may require a planning application. Drawing up a planning application can take some time and may require professional help. Your local authority will usually grant permission within 8 to 13 weeks.

Remember, that even if you don’t need planning permission, you may still need buildings regulation approval.

Finding the right builder

When you are looking for a tradesperson or builder to help with a renovation it’s valuable to shop around, ask for recommendations and read reviews.

The federation of master builders advises getting a minimum of three quotes and checking what’s included in each one. Finding the right builder will save you time, money and stress.

Paying for renovations

Be realistic about how far your money will stretch. There are things you can do to keep the cost of renovations down. This might include doing some of the work yourself. Do you have the time and skills to make that possible?

Most experts say you should have at least 10% of your project costs spare to draw on, if there are expenses that you didn’t plan for. Different borrowing options have pros and cons and choosing the right one will save you money.

Is the building sound?

If you are renovating a rundown property, there’s even more to think about. Rectifying damp, structural, electrics and plumbing issues are all things that can prove expensive. Finding out whether the house you’re thinking of renovating could have those issues is important because it will impact on budget.

  • MyBuilder says dealing with rising damp can cost around £70 per metre of wall, as of 2021.
  • MyJobQuote says underpinning a property is likely to cost between £6,000 and £21,000 in 2021. In some cases it can be as much as £50,000. Underpinning is where the foundation of a home is strengthened to avoid subsidence issues.
  • Checkatrade estimates, for a three-bedroom house, average costs of:
  • New heating system - £6,500 for a combi boiler and radiators
  • Rewiring - Around £5,750
  • New windows - Up to around £6,000

You may wish to opt for a structural survey. Structural surveys cost between £500 and £1,500 depending on the size and location of the property, according to London Chartered Surveyors.

Kitchen renovation costs

Average cost: £8,000 - £50,000

The cost of a kitchen renovation can vary hugely. Kitchen renovation costs will increase if you want to move walls, especially structural walls. If your renovation requires substantial plumbing or utility changes it can increase costs too. This may happen if you want to relocate your sink, for example.

Luxury kitchens might have marble work surfaces and high-tech taps that boil and filter water. Look at how much tiles and counter tops cost per metre and get a feel for how that’ll work in the space you have and on your budget.

A cheaper option could be a flat-pack kitchen that you can install yourself. Combined with a lick of paint and some new tiles, it’s possible to give your kitchen a lift on a budget.

Bathroom renovation costs

Average cost: £3,000 - £15,000

Bathroom renovations that require any kind of structural change, new plumbing or waste installation are likely to be expensive. Luxury fittings like a freestanding bath will add to the cost, as well as tiling. It’s best to get a professional in for jobs like tiling the walls or the floor, so you can be confident of a quality finish.

Bathroom supplier Plumbnation explained that smaller changes could also work, if you don’t have a big budget. “If you don’t want to commit to renovating your whole bathroom, you could even just switch out a few features to give your room a fresh feeling. The average UK cost of tap installation is £100, whilst the average cost to fit a standard toilet is £320–£350.”

Loft conversion costs

Average cost: £15,000 - £70,000

The average cost of a loft conversion is £40,000, according to MyJobQuote in 2019. As with all house renovations, the specifics of the job, size of the space, access and finish all impact on the cost.

A loft conversion that relies on the installation of roof windows following the pitch of the existing roof is likely to be cheapest and often doesn’t require planning permission.

The price generally increases with installation of dormer windows. A hip to gable conversion is more expensive still and, generally, a mansard loft conversion (usually at the back of the property and changing the structure of the roof), is the most expensive. These more dramatic conversions that impact the external look of a house are more likely to require planning consent.

Basement conversion costs

Average cost: £1,400 - £2,290 per square metre

A basement conversion is a way to create extra room when there’s no other way to extend. A basement conversion can cost around £1,400 per square metre if the basement is already there. Digging out and underpinning a new basement can cost around £2290 per square metre, according to Checkatrade in 2021.

Basement conversions can be used for additional living space to house amazing additions like gyms or swimming pools, or to take on the role of a room like the kitchen to free up space elsewhere in your home.

Costs vary depending on:

  • Complexity of the specific project and whether there is an existing basement
  • Issues linked to damp and drainage. Drains may need to be diverted, which will add to costs
  • If underpinning is necessary for stability

Adding an extension costs

Average cost: £30,000 - £132,000

Adding an extension to your home is one of the most obvious ways of creating more space. In many cases you’ll need planning permission for an extension.

It’s likely you may want to use an architect, a professional project manager and builders, especially for ambitious projects.

There can be a huge difference in price for an extension, depending on the quality, finish, size and construction company you use.

Building a conservatory costs

Average cost: £10,000 - £15,000

Conservatories are a relatively affordable way to add a new dimension to your home. Space can be used as a playroom, place for relaxation or even an office.

Often conservatories fall within the realms of permitted development rights and do not require planning permission, but it’s always a good idea to check, especially with large conservatories.

Garage conversion costs

Average cost: £7,500 - £17,000

A garage conversion can be quicker and cheaper than a normal extension. Garages can be made into an additional bedroom, games room or workspace.

Adding plumbing will increase the cost if you want to integrate a shower room or kitchenette area within your garage conversion. You’ll also need to ensure you meet building regulations if doing this.

Often garage conversions do not require planning permission or an architect, which helps them to be quicker and cheaper to complete than a traditional extension.

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