Tips for Creating and Sticking to a Home Remodeling Budget

Home renovation featured on Outdoor Channel’s Renovation Hunters, Project Tionesta.

Whether you’re improving a new home, renovating a fixer-upper or have a few projects you want to complete to boost the resale value of your home, it’s important to create – and stick to – a remodeling budget. Need help? Let’s take a look at everything that goes into remodeling costs, whether you decide to save or splurge.

Plan Your Home Renovation Project

Before you start calculating renovation costs, make a list of all the projects that will be done. Be detailed. It’s not as easy as simply writing down “kitchen remodel.” A kitchen renovation has a lot of parts to it, as do most other home improvements. Don’t overlook the little things.

Be sure to ask yourself these types of questions:

  • Will you need new light fixtures?
  • Do you want countertops that match your new kitchen cabinets?
  • Are you upgrading your tile or carpet to hardwood flooring?
  • Do you need a new backsplash?
  • What plumbing upgrades are necessary – replacement of old pipes or faucets?
  • Will you update hardware?
  • How will the room’s decor change?

Consider all that goes into the project so that you can get a more accurate assumption of the average cost for materials and labor.

Chris Filardi, Kevin Tarkovich and Hal Shaffer discuss the Tionesta fixer-upper on AHA.

Family-Focused Home Remodel

Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods and Outdoor Channel’s new series, Renovation Hunters, came together to help family homeowners across the country renovate their small cabins and hunting camps. Throughout the new TV show’s first season, the team renovated three family cabins that have passed through generations.

In a recent episode of our American Hardwood Advisor podcast, host Steve Stack sat down with the creative team behind Renovation Hunters: Hal Shaffer, host and managing partner/co-creator, Kevin Tarkovich, general contractor and project lead, and Chris Filardi, managing partner and co-creator. The crew took the time out of their visit to Baird Brother’s location in Canfield, Ohio to talk about the third project of the first season, a small hunting camp in Tionesta, Pennsylvania.

Watch Here:

Estimating a Home Renovation Budget

Finding the estimated cost of a home remodeling project can be a challenging task, but there are some general steps you can take to get a ballpark idea. The biggest factors are materials and labor costs, which vary depending on several factors (location, materials desired, timeframe for remodel, etc).

You can get an estimated cost of the total project by looking at the average cost per square foot for similar projects in your area. Simply multiply this number by the square footage you are remodeling, and you have a baseline of what to expect. Remember that this is just an estimated cost; your total expense depends on the materials purchased, labor cost and other miscellaneous expenses that can occur throughout the renovation process.

Material Price Tags and Home Renovation Costs

Material is one of the biggest factors affecting your total home renovation cost. Even renovating a small room (like a bathroom remodel) can vary wildly in price depending on the materials used. If you choose high-end materials, your bathroom renovation price tag will most likely increase. And while a high price tag isn’t necessarily better than a budget -friendly remodel, more expensive materials (like faucets, shower systems, etc.) might last longer than their cheaper counterparts.

To estimate the material cost for a home renovation, start by making a list of all the materials needed for the project. (This includes things like paint, flooring, furniture, countertops and appliances, depending on the scope of the renovation). If you have an older home, it is also a good idea to add a line item for plumbing or electrical materials (depending on the room(s) being remodeled).

Once you have a list, research the cost of each item at various home improvement stores or online retailers. Take a look at the range of price tags to get an idea of where that material fits in your overall budget. Then, add up the total material costs to get an estimated price range for your home renovation project.

General Contractor Kevin Tarkovich on set at Renovation Hunters’ Project Tionesta.

Labor Cost Estimates

For most homeowners, a remodel includes both the materials and the labor needed to get the job done. There are several ways to find the right expert for the job.

General Contractor

The cost of hiring a general contractor for a home improvement project can vary depending on several factors, including project complexity, home location and the contractor’s experience. General contractors may charge a percentage of the total cost of the project, which can range from 10% to 25%. Some contractors may also charge a flat fee or an hourly rate for their services.

Don’t let the potential cost of hiring a general contractor scare you from going this route. General contractors are extremely knowledgeable, able to complete a wide range of construction-related tasks, can utilize trusted subcontractors for additional expertise, can help you stay within budget, and make sure the project is completed on time.


While a general contractor has a wide range of knowledge when it comes to remodeling and new build projects, subcontractors are specialized in specific areas. They can be hired directly by the homeowner or brought on by the general contractor (common subcontractors include construction specialties like electrical, plumbing, masonry and drywall). Subcontractors typically charge an hourly rate or a fixed fee for their services.

Compare Contractor Bids

If you’re hiring any kind of contractor, get multiple quotes. Compare their project costs estimates to determine the best one to hire based on your budget, their availability and the home improvement project to be completed.

Renovation Hunters’ team of expert DIY-ers working on the Tionesta home remodel.

Bring on the DIY Projects

Obviously, the cheapest labor is to do it yourself. But, what you don’t pay for in money, you pay for in your own time. DIY projects are fun, but an entire home improvement project may be more time-consuming than you realize. (Plus, if you don’t have the expertise, you might end up having to pay the experts to come fix it anyway!) Sometimes the best route is to take on the easier DIY projects and leave the more intense to-do items to the professionals.

Start Your Home Improvement Project at Baird

No matter your remodeling budget or the room(s) slated to be revamped, natural hardwood products can elevate any interior space. Replace those old, hollow core doors. Update your decades-old mouldings. Tear out that carpet and replace it with hardwood flooring!

When you’re ready to get started on your home renovation project, stop by Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods or shop our extensive inventory online! We will find the right hardwood product to fit your style, budget and timeline! Visit us at bairdbrothers.com or give us a call at 330-533-3122.