By Janet Myers | March 11, 2014

custom renovations

Custom Renovation Costs -- Why More?

In short, custom renovations cost more because they require more innovation, preparation and labor. A person hiring a contractor to do a custom renovation might doubt that extra thought is a sound explanation for additional costs, but for a contractor, working around existing structures creates a variety of obstacles.

Rather than looking at the additional costs through the eyes of the client, the best way to understand the additional costs is to put yourself in the shoes of a contractor.

The Contractor's Experience:

Demolition Work

The biggest difference between a custom renovation and a project which allows a contractor to begin building from the ground up lies within the demolition work. While demolition may sound like mindless, physical work, that's not the case with a custom demolition. Demolition is often the most difficult part of a custom renovation.

Custom renovations generally require a contractor remove some features of a room or area while leaving others. That means the contractor must remove what is to be replaced while protecting the structures which will remain.

Often times, those structures can be monetarily valuable to the structural integrity of the home, building or both. That means the utmost care must be taken when removing the old to make way for the new while working around and protecting those features that the home or building owner wants to remain.

Demolition is time consuming, labor intensive and requires forethought and preparation; mistakes during demolition can be very costly.


As opposed to working from the ground up, working around standing construction -- whether it be existing counters or a sink in a kitchen, a tub and toilet in the bathroom, or standing closets in a bedroom -- is difficult and requires a solution that integrates what is existing with which will be added.

So, in addition to working around and protecting the existing structures, integration requires a contractor conform to the parts of the theme or design of the original work that the homeowner likes while making sure the transition between the old and new is seamless.

Contractor Versus Home/Building Owner's Vision

It is integration that generally causes the widest gap in understanding what the contractor believes the client wants and what the client actually imagines. A finished product that exists in a house or building sets the standard of the home-owner's expectations.

However, often times those expectations are unrealistic or the homeowner or building discovers that what they’ve imagined simply isn't feasible. When that occurs, contractors are forced to go back and re-construct work they've already completed in a different manner.

As the vast majority of custom renovations do not have architectural prints, many times the renovation is more than some scribbles on a piece of paper or an exchange of ideas between the owner and the contractor. Often times, decisions are made from one day to the next as the project develops.

As such, the price of the project can increase dramatically over the course of the construction phase.

Same Old Look for a Hefty Price

Custom renovations that do not dramatically change the look of an area can make the cost of the project seem high. If a project turns out to be little more than an exchange of old materials for new ones and the look of the area remains practically the same, any costs will seem high.

How to Prevent High Costs

As a customer, it is important to do three things prior to beginning a custom renovation:

  • Have a very clear idea of what you want and consider if the change is going to be dramatic enough to justify the costs.
  • Consider the amount of demolition that the project is going to require and how the components of an area that you are going to keep will affect that demolition.
  • Make your construction expectations very clear so there is no confusion about what you do and don't want.

For complete custom renovations, with our specialized 3D Design Technology, call David Gray Design Studio.

Back to Blog

(904) 224-5971



Monday - Friday
8:30AM - 4:30PM