In What Order Should You Renovate a House?

Home renovations can be an exhilarating yet daunting endeavor. Knowing where to begin and in what sequence to tackle each project can often make the difference between a dream come true and a renovation nightmare. Legacy Builders Group of Cincinnati is here to lend our expertise so you feel equipped to take on your dream remodeling project. Proper planning and understanding the renovation order of operations are vital in ensuring efficiency, cost-saving, and achieving the desired outcome.

Montgomery, Ohio kitchen remodel with coffered ceiling and recessed lighting by Legacy Builders

Why Order Matters

The importance of the sequence in home renovations cannot be understated. Tackling projects in the wrong order can lead to repetitive work, increased costs, and even potential damage to finished sections of the house. For instance, imagine the inconvenience of having freshly painted walls only to realize later they need to be disturbed for electrical work. Or the unnecessary costs incurred when remodelers lay flooring before addressing structural or plumbing issues, leading to potential damages. 

Pre-Renovation Steps

Before diving headfirst into a renovation project, several preliminary activities set the stage for a successful remodel. First, home inspections are crucial. This step allows homeowners to identify any underlying issues that might not be visible to the untrained eye but could cause significant problems down the line. For instance, you might discover old wiring that's no longer up to code or subtle signs of a water leak that could lead to mold. Armed with this knowledge, you can address these concerns early in the renovation timeline. Second, securing the necessary permits is non-negotiable. Each municipality may have different requirements, and failure to acquire the right permits can result in hefty fines, delays, or even having to undo some of the work. Remember, these pre-renovation activities aren't just bureaucratic hoops to jump through; they're essential to ensuring the safety and success of your project.

Starting with the Exterior

When contemplating the order for home renovations, a tried-and-true strategy is to begin outside. The reasoning here is multifaceted. Exterior projects like roofing, siding, or window replacements can be messy affairs. Completing these tasks before moving inside ensures that any debris or disturbances remain outside and don't complicate or damage internal renovations. Addressing the exterior also ensures the home is protected from external elements, especially if you're renovating during months with unpredictable weather. Some folks also like to tackle the part of the home that faces the public first. The new beautiful exteriors may provide an ongoing morale boost as you see the transformation taking shape, motivating you as you venture inside to tackle the next stages of your renovation journey.

Exterior front entrance to home with victorian doors and archway

Structural Repairs

Before embarking on transforming the interiors of your home, it's imperative to ensure its bones are in top-notch condition. Addressing foundational or structural issues should be a top priority in the renovation order of operations. If there are cracks in the foundation, sagging beams, or any other structural concerns, these need immediate attention. Not only do these issues pose potential safety hazards, but rectifying them later can disrupt and even undo some of your beautiful renovation work. Taking care of structural repairs early on also ensures that all subsequent remodeling, whether it's a kitchen upgrade or a bathroom overhaul, stands on solid ground, both figuratively and literally.

Mechanical Systems

Once we’re confident about the structural integrity of your home, it's time to delve into the heart of the house: the mechanical systems. This phase involves updating or installing crucial systems like plumbing, electrical, and HVAC. These components are vital for the functionality and comfort of a modern home. For instance, outdated electrical systems might not only be inefficient but could also be fire hazards. Old plumbing could result in poor water pressure, leaks, or even potential water damage. Provided we aren’t moving elements or changing the floor plan during the remodel, addressing these big-ticket items at this juncture ensures that any walls opened for access won't need rework when moving on to aesthetic improvements. After all, there's little sense in installing a beautiful new backsplash in your kitchen if you'll have to tear it down later to access outdated plumbing.

Professional Project Sequence

When undertaking a comprehensive home renovation, professionals like Legacy Builders follow a meticulous sequence to ensure every phase is executed with precision and expertise. Here's what you can expect.

View of basement bar in Ross County renovation with custom cabinetry and wine fridge

Initial Consultation

Begin with a detailed discussion to understand the client's needs, desires, and overall vision for the project. This is the phase where initial ideas are exchanged, and rough sketches might be made.

Design and Planning

Transition from ideas to concrete plans. This phase involves the creation of detailed blueprints, selection of materials, and establishing a clear timeline for the renovation.

Permit Acquisition

Before any construction begins, it's imperative to acquire all the necessary permits to ensure the renovation adheres to local building codes and regulations.

Demolition and Cleanup

The initial phase of the actual construction, where old structures, fixtures, and unwanted elements are safely removed. This step also involves efficiently managing and disposing of debris.

Structural and Mechanical Work

Address foundational and framing tasks. This phase also includes the installation of critical systems such as electrical, plumbing, and possibly HVAC, ensuring the backbone of the home is robust and functional.

Interior Finishing

Bring the spaces to life. This involves the installation of drywall, painting, final touches on electrical and plumbing fixtures, and adding any specific finishes or touches the homeowner has selected.

Final Inspection and Handover

Once everything is complete, a thorough inspection ensures every element of the renovation meets the agreed-upon standards. After ensuring the client's satisfaction, the renovated space is officially handed over, ready for the homeowners to enjoy.

Wondering about a remodeling timeline? We walk you through it in our blog here.

Cincinnati, OH home remodel interior with view of sunroom addition

Flooring: When to Do It

The debate on "floor or cabinets first" has been ongoing, but when it comes to the broader picture of home renovations, flooring often finds its place after major structural and room-specific remodels are complete. The logic is simple: you don’t want construction debris, paint drips, or potential dings from moving large appliances or fixtures to ruin your new floors. However, there are exceptions. If you're undergoing a significant structural change, such as removing walls, you might want to do the flooring first to ensure a consistent look throughout the space. Otherwise, once your main renovations, like kitchens and bathrooms, are complete, you can lay down the flooring of your choice, whether it’s sleek hardwood, luxurious carpet, or durable tile. This step can drastically transform the look and feel of your home, giving it a fresh, updated vibe.

Hard wood flooring in Cincinnati, OH kitchen remodel by Legacy Builders Group

Kitchens and Bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms are vital daily spaces of the home. It's no surprise, then, that these spaces often take precedence in a renovation plan. When pondering which to tackle first, consider which space impacts your daily life more or which one may be causing more immediate inconveniences. Both spaces offer significant returns on investment, both in terms of property value and daily comfort. The kitchen is where families gather, meals are prepared, and memories are made. An outdated or non-functional kitchen can hamper your daily routine. Similarly, bathrooms play a critical role in personal relaxation and functionality. Upgrading these spaces can mean adding dual vanities, walk-in showers, or even spa-like amenities for that touch of luxury.Cincinnati, OH kitchen remodel with island and gray subway tileDouble bathroom vanity with brass fixtures and walk-in shower in Cincinnati, OH bathroom remodel

Ready to Elevate Your Living Space? At Legacy Builders Group, we pride ourselves on turning visions into reality in the Cincinnati suburbs with precision, dedication, and craftsmanship. If you're thinking of embarking on a renovation journey, let's make it memorable together. Reach out today and let's craft a home that's uniquely yours.