Renovating your older condo follows the same logic as renovating a house, your best value is in a new kitchen, new bathroom(s) and replacing the carpet with wood floors.But what makes a condo reno a little trickier?
First and foremost, you must obtain a copy of the condominium's Declaration, By-Laws and Rules (you should have a copy when you bought the condo, make sure it's up-to-date). You can talk to your condo management representative for a copy. You specifically want to focus on the guidelines relating to renovations.
Refer to the guidelines prior to replacing carpet for wood (or any other material) prior to having the work done. Most condo corporations have guidelines in regards to sound transmission and as such, the flooring and underlay must meet guideline requirements. Once it's installed....it's too late! You may have to remove and re-install your new flooring to meet the condo guidelines.
Structural work is tricky, i.e.; removing a wall or making an opening in a wall for a more open concept flow. Condo boards outline that you can't touch load bearing walls. In order to remove or open a wall, usually a separate report from a structural engineer is required to show that the wall is in fact, not load bearing. If you want to move the shower from inside the tub to a separate shower stall. That may be difficult. If the drains and supply line are common elements in party walls and floors, you may not be able to move them.
Always refer to the Declaration, By-Laws and Rules first! In most cases, your contractor will have to provide the condominium board with all plans, paperwork and permits before starting any work. And all these expenses are yours to incur prior to obtaining approval from the board to go ahead with the renovation.
And finally, the condo board or corporation usually have regulations that outline hours of work, access to and from the building for the tradesmen, access to the service elevator, noise allowed and garbage removal.
Despite the challenges, many condo owners renovate their living space and are very happy with the results! A good starting point is to ask your condo neighbors if they renovated or if they know anyone who did? Ask the concierge, he/she knows who had contractors in to do work. Most condo owners are happy to tell tales (good or bad) about their renos and you may get referrals to good tradesmen.
For more information on condominiums and condominium renovations, contact us by email on the right side menu or call us at 416-322-8000.