How To Do a Gut Renovation in Brooklyn (And Execute it Without a Hitch)

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Out with the old, in with the new. That’s the main reason for renovating your home, right? When you are remodeling in a borough like Brooklyn, expect the unexpected. Many pre-war buildings have been around for several decades or even centuries, and the last renovation could have been dozens of years ago.

If you’re lucky enough to have picked up a Brooklyn fixer-upper, you may be able to design something completely new. Some people will only renovate a few rooms like the kitchen or bathroom, but many others will opt for a full gut renovation.

What Is a Gut Renovation?

A gut renovation is the ultimate renovation project. It involves stripping the entire interior (or guts) of a house, redesigning the floor plan and transforming the old space into something brand new and unrecognizable from its previous state. In many cases, the only thing left inside a home destined for gut renovation is internal structural aspects such as support beams, columns and walls. Everything else can be put on the list to be removed and replaced with something new and improved.

Possible Complications

You may think ripping out walls and removing the debris will be the worst part of a gut renovation, but you likely won’t know about any hidden problems until you are down to the studs. Some of the structural aspects could be damaged and will need to be replaced. The home’s plumbing and electrical may also need a considerable amount of attention.

Many old homes have aging pipes or substandard wiring that may have been a DIY project by a previous owner. If this is the case, you may need to fork out considerable funds for things hidden behind walls. These two costs alone can add up to more than half your initial renovation budget. In most cases this is when you should be prepared to get hit with hidden costs – unless you opt to go with a service like Block which reduces the budget uncertainty you’d typical experience on a gut renovation.

Repurposing Critical Spaces

Depending on the age of your home, the kitchen and bathroom may be the catalysts that prompted you to consider a gut renovation in the first place. After all, these rooms often show their age the quickest. Previous generations often chose to tuck the kitchen at the back of the house, and not much space was allotted to it. To bring it into modern times, it could involve knocking down walls to find more space or create an open layout.

Bathrooms also need upgrading every few decades and often additional bathrooms or powder rooms are needed to accommodate a modern lifestyle.

What You Can Expect to Pay For a Gut Renovation in Brooklyn

Gut renovations do not come cheap and can cost anything between $100K to $200K. Even small renovations for a single room can cost the homeowner between $20K to $75K, depending on the room in question.

Before you start ripping out the walls of your Brooklyn home for a gut renovation project, consider all the costs involved and allow for additional costs for unexpected expenses. A full building inspection should always be your first step, so you know exactly what you have to work with. Still, most of the time you should expect to get hit with additional costs when you open up the walls. A good contractor will do their best to provide an estimate as early in the process as possible. At Block, a site surveyor will collect comprehensive measurements of the space early on to ensure that our scopes and building plans are as accurate as possible from the start.

If you’re renovating an apartment building, you will need to make enquiries with your building’s co-op. Most co-ops will have a list of which renovations are allowed and which aren’t, with many also insisting on an inspection after the renovation work is complete. Check with your local planning authority to ensure all the work you carry out is legal and to code, so you don’t add the expense of unnecessary fines on top of the renovation costs.

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