How to Budget Properly for an Exterior Renovation Project

How to Budget Properly for an Exterior Renovation Project

When it comes to roofing, siding, or any other exterior renovation, many homeowners don’t like to talk about money. We get it. It is one of the largest determining factors in what kinds of materials you’re able to use; in some circumstances, it can indeed limit things.

However, money is a necessary topic to tackle. Understanding how finances will flow when it comes to your project not only prevents unwelcome surprise charges, but it also helps you to understand what buying power you do have—and how to use it responsibly. That’s why we at Tony’s Lifetime Exteriors, as your Sauk Rapids roofing company, deck builder, and engineered wood siding contractor, are here with a brief budgeting basics guide below.

What Are the Costs Involved in my Project?

The first step to creating a budget for any exterior project, be it gutter installation, window replacement, or something else entirely, is to understand the costs that go into such a project. While you may have a large lump sum set aside for the renovation, breaking that sum down into parts will give you a better idea of what materials you can use, among other things.

What you’re charged for—and how much—of course depends on the job at hand. A little roof repair, for example, will cost you far less than an entire replacement job, and you may be charged for completely separate things at completely different proportions.

Generally speaking, though, you can expect the following to factor into your renovation:

  • The cost of materials
  • Any remediate preparatory work
  • The cost of labor
  • The cost of hauling away old materials
  • The cost of pulling building permits
  • The cost of change orders (a topic which we’ll cover in a later section)

Typically, material and labor will be the proportionally largest costs, but that doesn’t mean that they should be the only ones you budget for. Your contractor will discuss additional fees during consultation with you, and they’ll be mentioned in the contract you sign—so make sure to account for them while you’re crunching the numbers.

All About Change orders

Change orders directly change the contract you sign with your contractor, and they thus directly affect how much you’ll be paying. In essence, a change order is an official edit to the original work, be it in scope, material, or timeline. This change becomes a part of the contract, making it an unshakable agreement that you and your contractor must adhere to and sign off on.

Minimize Change Orders to Stay on Budget

Change orders can be a good thing. For example, they may allow a contractor to perform remediatory work that they hadn’t anticipated so that your project can go on. However, it is also true that change orders nearly always drive up the price of your project.

Why? They send ripple effects down the line of work, potentially requiring the rescheduling of workers and requiring updating of the paper trail on a number of levels by a number of people. New materials also may need to be ordered, timelines adjusted, labor paid for… the list goes on and on.

Thus, if you can, avoid change orders as much as possible to stay on-budget for a project. While there are some things you cannot predict, such as hidden damage, you definitely can provide your contractor with an accurate picture of your needs as they stand before the project begins. In other words, don’t settle on asphalt shingles then change your mind to a metal roof midway through the project!

Have a Buffer Budget

You can’t budget in exactitude for unanticipated changes—but you can, and should, set aside a significant amount of cash for change orders you can’t avoid. Recommendations for how much vary depending on the project and contractor. If you’re worried about this threshold, talk to your contractor about the numbers; they’ll be able to help you find a ballpark estimate given the project and scope of the work.

Read the Contract

We all like to skip the terms and conditions, but when such a large amount of money is at stake, it’s imperative that you don’t!

At some point, your contractor will present you with a contract that details when each payment from the initial one onward is due, in addition to how much you’ll be liable for in dollars. Plug these into your phone, write them down in your day planner—whatever you need to do to remember that they’ll be coming up. You’ll avoid extra late fee charges that will cut into your budget this way. Nobody likes to pay in cash for their forgetfulness, after all.

Tony’s Lifetime Exteriors: For All Your Exterior Needs

A nearly all-in-house team combined with a passion for quality service makes us the obvious choice for your roofing, siding, gutters, and more. Give our Sauk Rapids office a call today at 320-252-9086.

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