How to Prepare for a Whole House Renovation

Whole house renovation

When most people think about a whole house renovation, they are most likely thinking only of the last few steps of the process – the beautiful finishings that you and other people will see from day to day.

Even when you are thinking about a significant structural change – like opening up walls or vaulting a ceiling, you may not realize everything that goes into a large-scale renovation.

Of course, it doesn’t help that most home renovation shows only depict about 30 minutes of the actual renovation.

Gutting and remodeling a whole house may take months to complete. It’s also a big project.

Even if you’re not acting as your own contractor, it’s good to know what this process will involve from start to finish.

Whole House Renovation Initial Stages

Designs & Plans

We are going to start by assuming you have the funds to complete the project. If you don’t, this is where you need to find that out and decide what to do with your knowledge.

Meticulous plans won’t save you from every unknown, however, they can make a big difference.

This stage should include some type of drawings, a list of projects you want to do yourself versus what you would like your contractor to do, and applying for permits.

Shore Up Your Home’s Envelope

The envelope of a home includes your roof, foundation, siding and windows.

If your house has leaks anywhere, this is when you discover and fix those leaks first to protect your renovation. An experienced competent contractor will put these fixes into the estimate.

The last thing you want is to find out you’re not getting a new kitchen because you have to have a new roof!

You want to know beforehand with a detailed inspection whether it’s time to replace the roof before you renovate the inside.

Laying the Foundation


A contractor will have waste containers as part of your quote, as well as demolition costs.

Structural Changes

Most whole house renovations include structural changes like removing walls, adding rooms, or opening up the ceiling.

One reason to do such a big job is to get all the work done at once while your house is already being “opened up.”

This stage includes foundational carpentry, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing changes. All of these systems will have to pass inspection before insulation can be added, and drywall, mudding, and taping can commence.

Finishing Touches


Once the drywall has gone up, it is time to start finishing the interior. If you plan to replace your windows, now is when these go in.

Fine Carpentry

Any carpentry that isn’t wall and ceiling studs and joists is considered fine woodworking.

From custom kitchen cabinets and built-in bookshelves to crown molding, fine carpentry is one of the best ways to make your house look like it was custom-built.


Different contractors prefer different orders. Some like to put the flooring down before painting and some after.

If you plan to replace your floors, know that you run the risk of getting paint on it if you do it before you paint – especially if you are going to paint the walls yourself.

If you paint before installing, there’s a good chance the walls will be scuffed by the installation process of the flooring.

Surface finishes

Paint, wallpaper, tile backsplash, and small wall and ceiling fixtures fall in this category. Now your house is genuinely almost finished.

Siding & Gutters

Believe it or not, we wait until the very end to refinish the exterior of your house.

Siding can be damaged by replacing doors and windows. Therefore, you want to wait until everything else is done. The good news is the siding and gutters can each be replaced in a day or two.

Bringing it Home

It is exciting to think about a whole house renovation. Hopefully, this list gets your wheels turning as you think about what the future holds for your house.

If you live in Southeast Michigan, please give us a call. We would be happy to help!

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