A Complete Step by Step Guide in Home Renovation

This step by step guide is something that you need to be aware of to be able to effectively SCHEDULE and create a timeline of WHAT renovation work must happen and WHEN. 

A home renovation/remodel is complex and difficult and not what is often presented by the shows on DIY Network and HGTV. A look at the major elements of a whole-house renovation will give you a sense of what’s involved and having an understanding of how projects tend to run will prevent issues with undoing and redoing work because something crucial was forgotten. 


renovating a house checklist

This article is a ‘broad strokes’ suggested order of renovation work but there are no strict rules because every property is different. The typical order of events and timelines of a renovation can be quite fluid.  

The time it will take to complete your project and the order of how it all happens, will vary hugely depending on 4 things:

The clarity of your design and purpose.

Whether you have architectural plans, or just a firm set of thoughts about how the project should progress, it is cheaper and less frustrating to correct mistakes before the renovation/remodel starts. How clear you are with all aspects of the renovation will determine your success.

Ensure that you have funding for the whole project. 

The type of work you’re having done.

For example, …an extension, needs time for footings and foundations to be built before you can start on the walls and ceilings, whereas if you’re knocking down a wall internally, this can happen in a day.

How fast you can make decisions. 

If something you hadn’t thought about or planned for pops up, which it inevitably will, your contractor will ask for a decision before he can continue work, which could mean he has to pay another visit later leaving other work to be prioritised. Either of these scenarios will cost you time and money.

what order to do home renovations

Which sub-contractors and how many are available to do the work. 

Contractors are used to working around each other but sometimes they can hold each other up. A plumber that’s free to fit new stovetop / oven etc now, cannot start if the countertop and cupboards have not been installed so you must be clear on the order of who comes in when.

So… let me help you with this.

Here are 15 steps of a renovation and /or remodel project.

1. Budget.

2. Design, Planning & Permits.

3. Roof, Foundation, Water Issues (Siding, Windows).

Roof replacement or repair; foundation fix; stopping water leaks (that may threaten future work) by installing or repairing siding (the outer covering or cladding of a house which protects it from weather) and windows. Large projects must be done first because subsequent projects are impacted by them.

4. Demolition.

Demolishing and disposing of sections of the house that will be replaced by new build changes.

5. Structural Carpentry.

Carpentry that is supporting other work such as drywall, new or moved walls, windows, doors, etc.

renovating a house checklist

6. HVAC Ductwork, Electrical, and Plumbing.

Ductwork refers to the system of ducts (metal or synthetic tubes) used to transport air from heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) equipment throughout your home. Vital Electrical and Plumbing services that need to be installed when the walls and ceiling are open.

7. Windows.

Installing new or replacement windows to add value to the property.

8. Insulation.

Laying the insulation in the walls and ceilings.

9. Drywall/Plasterboard.

Closing up the walls and ceiling with drywall. A second inspection from the electrical inspector (and perhaps the plumbing inspector) will give you the go-ahead to close up the walls.

10. Install Carpentry.

Kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms

remodeling a house where to start

11. Fine Carpentry.

Carpentry that is not supportive (Fine carpenters give your house that finished touch) such as Interior doors, architrave, window sills, trim around windows and doors built in shelving (bookcases, breakfast/study nook) alcove cupboards, dado rails, shaker panels etc.

12. Interior Painting, Wallpaper, and Other Surface Finishes.

Painting interior walls, hanging wallpaper, painting/staining/sealing moulding and trim; all of these detail-oriented surface finishes should be the last items you do indoors as this work can damage other work of yours.

13. Flooring.

Installing the flooring as late as possible in the renovation process saves your flooring surface from significant damage from foot traffic and materials/equipment coming in and out of the house.

14. Roof, Siding, Render, Gutters, Downpipes.

Exterior work on the outside of the house to improve aesthetics.

15. Major Auxiliary Buildings.

Any buildings that are detached from the main house. Swimming pools / Sheds / Garages etc