Thinking about remodelling your home in Squamish? Whether you’re looking to enhance your living space, make it more functional, increase property value, or simply give your home a fresh look, this FAQ guide is designed to provide you with the information you need to navigate the remodelling process in this picturesque BC community.
Remodelling your home in Squamish can offer several key advantages. You have the opportunity to evaluate what’s not working in your present home, then fix those issues, while creating the perfect space: updating outdated features, increasing energy efficiency, and adapting the living space to your current needs.
You have the chance to build your dream home, in a spectacular setting you call home, improving its comfort, functionality and efficiency. Upgrading your home will give it a more modern appearance and boost its curb appeal. If your house feels frozen in time, giving it a fresh look with new paint and finishes, neutral shades with perhaps a pop of colour, trendier cabinets and counters, and Energy Star appliances, can transform it into a showstopper.
Squamish is a thriving growing community, with annual growth of over 4% in the past 5 years, making it one of Canada’s fastest-growing communities. Whether you decide to focus on just the kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom, or remodel the entire house, remodelling can significantly enhance the resale value of your property in Squamish’s thriving real estate market.
Modern kitchens have become the social hub of the home. It’s where everyone congregates. Older homes were typically built with a traditional living room, dining room and small kitchen. For many families, the dining room has become the most under-used room in the house, so that obsolete dining area is opened up to provide a fluid living space between the kitchen, dining and living areas.
The barrier-free great room provides enough space for everyone to enjoy food prep and cooking, homework, catching up on emails from the office on the laptop, games, and catching up on each others’ days — all at the same time. It’s also the perfect space for entertaining. Open-concept kitchens are great at facilitating human connection.
Removing walls also allows natural light from windows and skylights to flood the space. Open-concept kitchens have become so popular they are in great demand by home buyers, potentially adding significant value to your home.
When remodelling your bathrooms, you may be limited by existing walls. However small bathrooms can be made to appear more spacious and luxurious by altering the floor plan and adding mirrors. Switching components and fixtures can also add virtual space. Natural light can be brought in with large frosted windows or skylights.
This could be the perfect time to add more storage, reworking the floor plan to maximize space or increase the square footage. If you have a sizeable lot, and the bathroom is on an outside wall, you might be able to create more space with an addition.
If you’re planning an extensive home remodel that will also significantly reduce your home’s energy usage, your remodel project could qualify for Home Energy Retrofit rebates. An energy advisor can complete an EnergGuide home evaluation to determine whether you qualify. Well-designed energy retrofits can dramatically reduce energy bills, improve indoor air quality, and make your home healthier and more comfortable.
If you love your home and neighbourhood, and the location, strategic remodels are an important part of maximizing the return on your investment. If you love your home and neighbourhood, remodelling the house is probably a better idea than selling and moving.
If your home is showing clear signs of deterioration, or it has structural issues, these problems shouldn’t be ignored, or they can become very expensive headaches down the road. You may have a leaking roof, rotting floorboards on the porch or patio, fireplace and foundation that needs repointing, and termite problems in the crawlspace… If there’s a growing list of things that need to be fixed, it’s time to fix them.
You may be planning to sell in a few years. Perhaps the children are in high school, and you plan to downsize after they graduate and are on their own. If you’re planning to live there a while longer, you can expect to enjoy a portion of the return on investment in aesthetically pleasing surroundings, comfort, functionality and reduced energy costs, then recoup the rest of the costs when you sell. If you are remodelling to sell soon, some of the options should provide a high return on investment, like a new front door, custom garage doors, manufactured stone veneer façade or some landscaping.
Remodels offer the opportunity to address health and safety concerns. If you have an outdated electrical panel, nowhere near enough electrical outlets for all the stuff you plug in, and there are plumbing issues, air quality concerns, and the house needs a fire alarm and security system; this is the time to make your home a healthier, safer place to live. Installing a ventilation system, and replacing worn finishes with non-toxic materials on the floors, walls and other surfaces will let everyone breathe easier.
If your home is feeling out of date, a remodel may be in order. A home with a modern aesthetic will provide a more enjoyable environment for your family to live in. If other homes on your street have already been updated, a remodel can help your home retain its value in the neighbourhood.
If the space isn’t functioning well in your family’s day-to-day lives it’s probably time to sit down with an architect or design-build contractor to determine what you can do to make things work better. You may need to open up a small kitchen to make an open plan area that better suits your needs, create a walk-in closet or two, or redesign the master suite with a deep soaking tub or luxurious shower.
The pandemic lockdowns changed the ways families interact. They had to spend more time with their partners and children and it ended up bringing many families closer together. After restrictions eased, many realized that they felt less rushed and hectic, and they had a healthier balance between work and non-work. Temporary work- and study-from-home arrangements became permanent remote solutions.
The most popular home remodelling projects are:
With families spending more time together at home, open floor plans encourage more interactions and usually involve some combination of kitchen, dining room, and living room, or all three, to create a great room.
Pandemic lockdowns increased the demand for home offices and study spaces. Remote work and distance learning quickly became mainstream, and Squamish homeowners have been rethinking their living spaces to accommodate the changing needs.
In addition to creating open floor plans to make homes feel more spacious and open, outdoor living spaces have become an affordable way to increase the home’s square footage for most of the year. By creating a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces, homeowners have successfully blurred the boundaries between inside and outside, and now enjoy the best of both worlds.
Remodelling presents the ideal time to prioritize energy-efficient upgrades, or even future-proof your home with a whole-house deep energy retrofit. Energy efficiency allows you to reduce your carbon footprint while delivering substantial long-term savings on energy bills.
Smart technology allows you to control various aspects of your home, including lighting, temperature, security, and entertainment, all from a central hub or through a smartphone app. Many homeowners upgrade their appliances during a remodel, with ENERGY STAR® models that often include smart features. Smart appliances such as ovens, refrigerators, washers and driers connect to the internet and can be programmed to perform certain functions, or they can be controlled remotely.
Over the past few years, kitchens have evolved to become the central hubs in our homes; a place to prep and cook meals together, for homework sessions, while parents join the kids with their laptops to answer email, and for entertaining and hosting casual family gatherings. Open-concept designs or additions open kitchens up to accommodate more traffic and food prep stations, a larger kitchen table and perhaps even an island.
Your bathrooms may look dated or worn, or simply need a re-design to make them more functional, to better serve your family’s needs. You may need to reconfigure the space to accommodate a second sink with additional counter space, maximize your storage, or install a walk-in shower or freestanding soaking tub.
Feeling cramped? There are several ways to add more space. If your building lot will accommodate it, you may be able to build an addition. If you haven’t already done so, converting the basement or attic into functional space is another option. And yet another way to go could be adding a sunroom or conservatory.
Multi-generational living is on the rise in Canada. The cost of living continues to go up. Adult children are living with their parents as they try to save for a downpayment on a house. And parents often move into their children’s homes to help them cover the mortgage. Other middle-aged couples are planning to age in place, remodelling their home so that everything will be prepared if or when they lose mobility later in life.
When searching for a remodelling contractor check the company’s website carefully. A neglected website with broken links and images, that doesn’t render properly on your mobile device, is not a good sign, any more than having an architect or builder show up in a broken down, rust bucket pickup truck. The website should have links to associations the builder is in good standing with, such as Havan, RenoMark and the Better Business Bureau.
Go over the portfolio on the contractor’s website carefully and read over their About and Services page. Does the company do renovation, remodelling or retrofit projects? How long have they been in business? Are they a Squamish builder, familiar with the local building code and working with the Squamish municipality?
Next, determine whether the business you’re investigating is a design-build or architecture firm. Design-build contractors offer both design and construction services as a single solution. Your design-build contractor looks after every step of your remodel project, from the initial planning, and architectural drawings, to project management and working closely with the municipality for permits and inspections, to the completion of your project. It’s typically a lot easier to get things done on time and budget when the design and construction are handled by the same company.
Architecture companies provide services related to the design of your home, and you then hire a general contractor separately to do the construction work. You’re hiring two companies, so costs are typically higher. That being said, you will have two sets of eyes and perspectives on aspects of the project.
When you’ve decided on the remodel building approach that feels right for you, it’s time to interview candidates. Does the remodeler maintain a permanent business address, email address, website URL, phone number, and cell phone number with voicemail? Do they carry insurance that adequately protects you from liability? Is the contractor established and respected in the community? Do they have long-standing team relationships with sub-contractors like electricians, plumbers, tile setters, hardwood floor layers, stone masons, etc?
To get a rough idea of what your remodelling budget should be, you want to know the current market value of your property. A Realtor® who specializes in properties in your community, and is familiar with comps for your neighbourhood, should be able to get you in the ballpark. You should plan to spend no more than 10 to 15% on any single room. Spending more than that could put you in a financial position where the renovation’s value does not proportionately increase the value of your home.
Carefully consider the scope of the project, materials, labour costs, permits, and unexpected expenses. Between 10 and 20 percent of your total budget, set aside as a contingency fund, should cover any unforeseen issues that may arise during the remodelling process.
Squamish is in an excellent climate zone, and depending on the type of house you own, its age and condition, and the materials and systems already in place, your home may be a good candidate for an energy retrofit. Passive House EnerPHit Program, Net Zero Ready, Net Zero and Deep Energy Retrofits are some of your environmentally friendly options in Squamish.
Remodelling the existing building stock to a net zero ready level is a key priority for achieving Canada’s decarbonization targets for 2030 and 2050. Under the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, the Canada Greener Homes Loan program will receive an additional investment of $458.5 million from the Government of Canada. The Canada Greener Homes Loan program and 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan are designed to assist Canadians in reducing emissions, saving money on retrofits and heating and cooling costs while stimulating high-paying jobs in the economy.
In addition to Canada Greener Homes Loans, there are quite a few other incentive programs for BC home renovations: BC Hydro / CleanBC / FortisBC Home Renovation Rebate Program, FortisBC Home renovation bonus rebates, BC Government’s Home Improvement Assistance Programs, The Canada Greener Homes Initiative and Municipal Top-up Rebates.
The District of Squamish is already on board in adopting the BC Energy Step Code for Part 9 small residential buildings, adopting Phase 3 (20% more efficient) on January 1, 2021. Builders of new homes can work with a certified energy advisor to ensure building designs meet all applicable energy performance requirements.
According to Mike Homes, there are 8 home renovations he suggests considering for increasing the value of a home for resale. He recommends doing upgrades and renovating the property properly with the future homebuyer in mind, and avoiding “lipstick and mascara” fixes that are just covering up problems with the house.
Here are Mike’s recommended upgrade considerations:
Remodelling your home in Squamish should be a rewarding experience, adding value to your property, while enhancing your quality of life. By considering the unique characteristics of Squamish, such as its natural beauty, cultural heritage, and mountainous terrain, you can create a remodel that not only meets your needs but aligns with the pulse of this vibrant Sea to Sky town.
Renovation Tips for Maximizing the Value of Your Home: A Comprehensive Guide Passive House Retrofits: Strategies and Techniques for Retrofitting Existing Homes Green Remodelling: Sustainable Renovation Ideas for an Eco-Friendly Home (Part 1) Green Remodelling – Sustainable Renovation Ideas for an Eco-Friendly Home (Part 2) Remodelling Your Home in Squamish and Whistler