Before Renovating a Condo

March 2021

Condo renovations differ from what can be done in a single family home.  In a condo home neighbours influence what and how renovations are undertaken.

Condominium communities have rules to manage renovations and their aftermath.  Protecting neighbours from unreasonable noise and potential problems from your renovation is a generally accepted responsibility of the board and management.

Check with the board or management before proceeding

Every building has standards and requirements.  Certain walls, pipes and vents should not be disturbed or changed during renovations.  Hardwood flooring may require a minimum of sound absorption.

Once you have a renovation plan, it is best to provide details and a time frame to the management office.

Use a condo-experienced contractor

Not all contractors have the experience and willingness to work in a condo building.  Restricted or limited elevator access, limited parking and access to loading/unloading areas are aspects of condo renovations not all contractors are familiar with.  Working hours may be limited.  There may be restrictions, minimum standards or specific techniques required for building materials such as those used for installation of hardwood floors to minimize transfer of sound.  Some contractors may lack experience dealing with concrete walls, narrower space behind walls and other condo-specific considerations.

Condo-experienced contracts are less likely to encounter surprises or problems they are unprepared to deal with.

Added considerations

Parking costs become a factor in buildings lacking sufficient visitor parking.  At $20 per day, six weeks of daily parking can add $600 or more per vehicle to the cost of a renovation project.  Arranging for parking before renovations commence can save money.

  • Space is always at a premium. Creating storage space during a renovation helps make the most out of limited living area.
  • Areas which cannot be altered may include front doors, balconies and windows.
  • Immovable areas may include pillars or posts, and concrete walls.
  • Concrete ceilings can’t accommodate pot lights unless a drop ceiling is created.
  • Moving a toilet or sink may be problematic because of where drains and water pipes are located.
  • Stagger tradespeople to avoid overcrowding during construction.
  • Make space for storing building material in the condo.

When your renovation project is complete contractors should remove old or unused construction material and fixtures.  It is best to hire a professional cleaning company for final cleanup to avoid months of dealing with dust and dirt.