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Zero Waste Home Renovation Guide

home renovation

Are you having bad memories with your home? Want to forget it but you just couldn’t do it because all the things that you see in your home remind you of the painful memories that you had in the past? Or does your house look boring and you want to change it to some trendy styles? Well, this home renovation guide is really for you.

Since all the things that you see in your home, including the interior design of your house, remind you of the past that you don’t want to look back on, you can start forgetting those by renovating your home.  This way, you will not be reminded of what happened before on the things that you will see in your new home.

home renovation

Home renovation is not just for people who want to change their space for mental health. It is also for all the people who want to improve their homes, offices, restaurants, and other more.

However, renovations are more likely to produce more waste than building a new home. Though you may think that it is fine to buy new materials that are non-zero waste, we should know that if we do not lessen the garbage it may pile up, landfills would then increase in number and greenhouse gases will increase. This is why we should choose to renovate our homes with zero-waste if possible.

To help you make your home renovation process zero waste, I interviewed lifestyle bloggers, renovation experts, home industry insiders, realty experts, interior designers, and environmental experts on how to remodel or renovate your home with as little waste as possible. Learn from their insights and get inspired to make your home a sustainable haven.

What is home renovation?

According to Tomas Satas, Founder, and CEO at Windy City HomeBuyer, home renovation is improving one’s house by altering some areas or aspects of the house. It requires planning based on the client’s preferences. Home renovations don’t always need professional services. Some home renovations can be done DIY, but it is best to know which ones are safe to DIY versus projects that will require professional help.

For Luke Smith, founder of “We Buy Property in Kentucky“, a home renovation is anything from a major project to redo an area of your home or an entire room. It typically requires removing and/or demolishing an area and then replacing materials with more desirable ones. While Dan Bailey, President of WikiLawn, pointed out that home renovation is completely redoing a part of your home, usually with the intent of increasing its resale value.

Devan Cameron of Braised & Deglazed says, “Being a Chef, home renovation for me would be a brand new kitchen. We thought of upgrading the kitchen but because my girlfriend works from home we thought it would be a bad time.”

Most importantly, home renovation is different from home remodeling. Marc Smith of Cyrus Artisan Rugs says that there’s a big misconception between home remodeling and renovation. Renovate means “restore to a good state of repair.” Remodel means “to change the structure or form of something.

Why do people renovate their homes?

Apartment, Demolition, Framing, Home

People renovate their homes because of different reasons. Some want to give their house a new look and some want to repair specific areas that are already broken. Also, if they have plans on selling the house, renovating it before selling makes it more appealing and helps increase its value.

New look

Luke Smith says that most home renovations happen because everyone wants their design to be up to date and a trendy living space. Dan Bailey also concurred, saying that people renovate so they can enjoy them longer and so they can get a higher price for them when they sell. Marc Smith also said that renovations can be to achieve specific design, for functionality, to declutter things, and for some seasonal events like for Christmas, etc.

Repairs

On the other hand, renovations can provide many functional and utility improvements to a home. If you can achieve a more pleasant living environment and functionality, it’s a renovation worth undertaking. 

Boost resale value

Homeowners often renovate their properties in preparation to sell them. According to Than Merrill, founder, and CEO of the real estate education company, FortuneBuilders, An updated home with newly renovated features often sees a higher purchase price and, in turn, a higher return on investment for the seller. Buyers are often attracted to homes with newly updated features that require minimal work once purchased, and the high demand for these homes will help get a renovated property of the market faster. The money that it takes to renovate a home will often be worth it in the long run if the seller is able to make more money from the sale of the house in a shorter amount of time.

Waste from home renovations

Building, Home, Construction, Contractor

Unfortunately, when you renovate a home or part of one, you remove old materials. These materials do add to landfill waste. Many materials can be salvaged, but some cannot. Drywall is usually the items that cannot be salvaged. Many other items can be reused or repurposed, according to Luke Smith.

Dan Bailey added that waste from home renovations includes any kind of debris like wood and metal as well as the material byproducts or packaging such as empty paint
cans.

Environmental Impact of home renovation industry

While it’s not the most impactful industry, home renovation often creates waste that isn’t easily broken down in landfills or creates toxic fumes when converted to a recyclable item, Dan Bailey says.

Can home renovations be zero waste?

Dan Bailey stated that careful planning will help you reduce and even zero out waste. Research the project and see exactly what you’ll need and what will be left over after you use it. Take those elements into account and plan ways to use scraps, debris, etc. so as little as possible is wasted.

Adam Atkins, Director of Cheapa Waste Skips said that many materials can be recycled from a home renovation including appliances, flooring, fixtures, wood, and kitchen units.

These can be sold through online trading sites such as Gumtree, or you can take them to your local recycling facility.

It’s a good idea to research local recycling facilities and even your local council to find out what you can recycle. You can also ask your local skip hire company to see what they can take as many offer recycling incentives.

Eco-friendly Home Renovation Methods

To conduct an eco-friendly renovation, Luke Smith says, you can donate a lot of items to resale shops or repurpose them throughout your home. Doors, fixtures, handles, and other features like a sink or shelf can be removed from your home, but given to someone else rather than taken to the landfill.

Facebook Marketplace is a great way to unload unwanted items for a small profit or
for free at the very least. Usually, people will flip these goods and you’re actually helping them with their business by donating or cheaply selling your unwanted goods rather than throwing them away.

Doing home renovation requires time, effort, and money, Marc Smith said. Also, you need to be responsible for how you will recycle home renovation waste. Re-face your home rather than replace it.

After decluttering, you can donate your unwanted items. With this in mind, not only are you being environmentally friendly, but you are truly giving back to the community.

What should you buy for a zero waste home renovation?

Veronica Fletcher, Co-founder at Yuzu Mag, recommends you get this two things:

Bidet

One essential item for a zero-waste home, and one that fits nicely with renovating, is a bidet.

Bidets massively reduce (even eliminate) the need to use toilet paper, a disposable item. 

Toilet paper is a big drain on the world’s natural resources. Trees have to be cut down and tonnes of water is used during its production. Swapping to a bidet saves these resources.

Another benefit of not using toilet paper is that you reduce the stress on our sewer systems by not clogging them with solid waste. Water is much easier to process than a toilet paper slurry.

Using water is also more hygienic than using toilet paper. We use water to wash every other part of our body, so why not our bottoms? It sprays dirt off us rather than smearing it around.

Bidets range in price from around 25 dollars for a simple attachment, up to hundreds of dollars for a fancy electric seat. There are options to suit every budget.

To eliminate toilet paper from your household completely, you can opt to use a re-useable cloth along with the bidet. Keep a bin next to your toilet to throw the cloth in, then you can wash them and re-use them.

Compost bin

ECO-Master Compost Bin 300L - Garantia UK

If you’re redoing the garden as well as your home, make space for a compost bin.

Compost bins are the ultimate zero waste item. They take kitchen scraps and turn them into useable fertilizer for your garden.

There are several different types of bin you can consider. A traditional bin, a compost tumbler, or a worm bin are the most common types. With worm bins you don’t even need a garden, you can keep it inside. They don’t smell, I promise.

If you don’t want to buy a new thing you can fashion a compost bin yourself from scrap pieces of wood or old bins. All you really need is a container with some holes in so air can circulate, and you’re good to go.. 

You can put any organic waste in the compost bin, not just food. A lot of the smaller zero-waste swaps people make are to compostable materials rather than plastic.

For example, you might switch out plastic wrap with a beeswax wrap. Once the beeswax wrap has reached the end of its life, you can chuck it in the compost bin. If you have one that is!

Tips for Successful Home Renovations

Tips of Jerryll Noorden (the founder & editor of WeBuyHousesInConnecticut)

1. Know what your end goal is

2. Create a budget and stick to it

3. Make a master list of all the things you look to renovate

4. Create your own custom designs

5. Consult with a professional for the perfect shot

Co-Founder of Avakian Interiors, Talia Rosen’s Tips

Renovating your home is an exciting process, but can feel overwhelming at the beginning. In order for a renovation to be successful, there are five key tips you should consider before picking up a hammer.

KNOW YOUR END GOAL 

Are you renovating to increase the value of your home to sell in the future? Is this your forever home? Know which renovations are a good return on investment, and which will be considered overdoing it for the area. Having a specific plan in place for your future will help you decide how deep to go with your project. 

HAVE A BUDGET 

We always encourage our clients to have a good understanding of how much they would like to invest into a renovation. This will make things easier for you when you receive quotes from contractors or interior designers — how much do you have to allocate to each? Make a detailed list of everything you must have such as any required permits, building fees, etc. this will help you prioritize what you need versus what’s nice to have. Remember to add in a contingency fund for any unexpected costs.

BUILD A DETAILED PROJECT TIMELINE

Are you aiming to have your house complete by a certain date or holiday? Work through the deadlines on paper to see if it’s doable. Having realistic expectations will be better for you in the long run, and may help alleviate some of the pressure that comes with having an overly ambitious and tight timeline.  

DO YOUR RESEARCH 

Reach out to your network and see who has been through a home renovation. By building up your own knowledge, you’ll be more involved in the renovation process, and learn about any red flags that your friends / family came across when they were going through the renovation process. Getting referrals from your network is a great way to find trusted and high-quality people to work with. 

PACK UP 

Before the remodel comes the pre-model, which involves organizing, decluttering and emptying the project space before the remodel begins. It’s as necessary to the process as getting the right permits. Build this into your timeline and your project will start on time. Be organized when it comes to packing away your items. It’s a pain, but your future self will be thankful that you were organized and tidy. Label boxes clearly, and pack everything away based on where it belongs in your home (i.e. all kitchen materials together, living room decor, etc.) This means no throwing stuff into boxes haphazardly.

Luke Smith’s tips for a successful home renovation

  1. Make a plan before you get started.
  2. Determine what your end goal is and then buy supplies/materials that match your look.
  3. Create a budget and then once you’ve detailed your plan you can get started on the demolition.
  4. Measure twice and cut once.

Jody Costello’s Tips

Jody Costello, a Home Renovation Planning, Contractor Fraud Expert, and founder of Contractors From Hell, gives the following 5 tips will help homeowners avoid disasters, unethical contractors and better manage their projects and money while reducing their exposure to serious problems and loss of money due to poor decisions.

1. Thoroughly vet your contractor with a deep dive into their business practices. Checking license status to ensure it is current and valid is a necessary formality. Doing so goes beyond license checks and referrals which don’t always reveal a history of complaints, lawsuits, or Lien history with former clients.  This is the foundation for a successful outcome.

2. Learn what your state’ contractor’s laws are, what your rights are as well as the contractors. This includes researching down payment limits, payment schedules, Rights To Lien your property, and contract language that should be included to protect yourself, to name a few.

3. Understand and make use of legal construction documents that protect homeowners from surprise “extra work” invoices such as Change orders, and Mechanics Liens filed against property owners by requiring Lien Release waivers when making payments to contractors and subcontractors.

4. Having a thoroughly detailed, written contract that spells out exactly what is to be performed and installed is key to getting what you want and expect. Vague language leads to misinterpretation, frustration, and conflicts.

5. Make sure the contractor has a current Surety Bond registered with the state, Workman’s Comp if there are employees, and other insurances such as General Liability. Though liability insurance is not mandated, ethical contractors will go the extra step to protect both parties.

Than Merill’s Tips

A few tips to successfully renovate a home are to shop around for contractors, establish priorities, and prepare for unexpected expenses.

Shop Around: Homeowners should collect quotes from multiple contractors in order to find someone who is trustworthy, capable of your project’s needs, and offers excellent service at a fair price.

Prioritize: Be sure to clearly outline your top projects that are the most important in
your home renovation. Distinguish your needs versus your wants in order to
stay on budget.

Prepare for emergencies: Homeowners should always be financially prepared in case something goes wrong during the renovation. Even a well-planned project
faces the possibility of running into unforeseen problems, so homeowners
should set aside an additional 20% of their budget for their renovation’s
rainy day fund.

Conclusion

Home renovation is such a good idea. It gives us different feelings because of our different perspectives as to what is our goal or purpose of renovating our homes. But, we need to be sensitive to the materials that we are going to use. 

When renovating, we could use those materials that were taken from the old model of the house, this is the concept of reusing materials that are still good instead of buying new ones. By this, you are not adding waste to your community that may risk not only you, your neighborhood but also our mother nature.

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