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How to save when renovating

by Multi-Prêts Mortgages

What you’ll learn

  • Planning
  • Tools and materials
  • Other tips to help you save 
  • Programs and tax credits

Looking to save when renovating or redesigning your property? Obviously, relying on your own handyman instincts rather than using a professional is a good way to cut costs, but it may come back to haunt you.

Here are a few tips and tricks to consider before becoming the master of your own work site.

Planning your renovations

The key to success in any type of work is, without a doubt, planning. It will prevent wasting time and money on endless trips to the hardware store, or, even worse, having to start over because you forgot a key component.

Your measuring tape is your new best friend. If taking accurate measurements (and then taking them once more), is a task that can be carried out relatively quickly, failing to do so can wind up being very costly.

Once you’ve established your final plan, divide the work to be done into steps, and draw up an inventory (tools and materials) of what will be needed to accomplish each one. Make sure your list is thorough and includes all the small elements that seem insignificant (work gloves, glue, sealant, screws, etc.). This way, you’ll be able to establish a budget and stick to it without too many unpleasant surprises. If you think you’ll need financing, read our article “How to finance your home renovations”.

At the same time, you’ll have the opportunity to keep an eye out for deals and promotions in stores and build up your inventory at a lower price.

Certain tasks are hard to accomplish solo. By dividing up the work into well-defined steps, you can establish a calendar and book a friend to help you ahead of time.

Tools and materials : rent of buy?

It can be tempting to pick up a few new toys for your toolbox, but the truth is, in most cases, you’re going to have a hard time getting a return on your investment. Before you rack up a huge bill at the hardware store, ask around to see if anyone can lend you what you need. For everything else, renting is always a great option.

The same goes for materials, since many renovation projects yield unused surplus. Ask your friends and family if they happen to have what you’re looking for hiding in their storage room. They may be happy to help you out and free up some space at the same time.

You should also take a look at the classifieds. Some people make the mistake of purchasing too much equipment and are now looking to part with tools or materials that are gathering dust for a fraction of the price, and sometimes even for free.

You should always look to minimize surplus, but you’re better off giving yourself some breathing room of just under 10% when it comes to certain materials, such as flooring, ceramics, etc.

Breaks and losses are common on a work site, and stopping everything to buy more supplies can wind up costing you more in the long run. Furthermore, you can always use the leftovers if you have to do repairs down the line.

Preparing your work site

You’ve got your plan, your tools and your materials, but take a few moments to lay out your work site before getting started. Clear the room and cover what can’t be moved. A mess can happen in a heartbeat during renovations, and could wind up costing you a lot of time and money.

Your materials should be organized according to the order of the work to be done, and should be easily accessible in a secure fashion.

Before you call the container service to ditch your old heating system or windows that are constantly fogged up, it’s important to find out what the Québec Government offers homeowners in terms of programs and tax credits. With these, you can save a lot of time and money!

Take advantage of programs and tax credits


This program gives financial aid for owner-occupied homes. Homeowners with low-to-modest incomes that live in rural areas can benefit from a grant of up to 95% of the work to be carried out (with a maximum of $12 000). This program caters to the needs of small municipalities. Find out about how you can qualify.


Éconologis is not exactly a program that provides financial assistance; rather, it is an energy efficiency program for low-income households. It allows homeowners to take advantage of free, personalized advice and have electronic thermostats installed free of charge. Making your home more energy efficient can help you to substantially save on costs each year. It is definitely a program to consider!

Chauffez vert

Do you have a heating system or water heater in your home that uses oil? Are you thinking of replacing it with a more efficient system that pollutes less? Chauffez vert is a financial assistance program for the replacement of fossil-fueled systems with systems that use electricity or other renewable energy sources.

Combine tax credits and grants

Remember: tax credits and grads are not mutually exclusive; you can take advantage of more than one program at a time! Be sure, however, to learn more about each program’s eligibility requirements.

For example, you can receive financial assistance from Rénoclimat for renovations that will improve your home’s energy efficiency as well as get a tax credit from RénoVert for 20% of the portion of your eligible expenses over $2500. And, if you are replacing your heading system that uses oil, you can also apply for the Chauffez vert program!

Other tips

People in the construction business often have accounts set up in hardware stores that provide them with discounts. If any of your friends or family are in such a position, you should ask them if you can make your purchases through them.

Look up the material you’re planning on using online. Read reviews and comments from other users. Sometimes, it’s cheaper in the long run to buy better quality material that will last longer.

Are you looking to sell some of your surplus? List it online. You may wind up helping someone out while putting a few dollars back in the bank.

If, after reading this article, you change your mind and decide to go with a professional, read our article on how to find the right building contractor.

Moreover, don’t forget to talk to your mortgage broker to find out how you can finance your home renovations

Key takeaways

  • The key to success in any type of work is, without a doubt, planning. It will prevent wasting time and money on endless trips.
  • Before you rack up a huge bill at the hardware store, ask around to see if anyone can lend you or give you what you need.
  • You’ve got your plan, your tools and your materials, but take a few moments to lay out your work site before getting started.
  • RénoVert, Rénoclimat, RénoRégion and Chauffez vert can help you save thousands of dollars on your renovation project.
  • You can take advantage of several programs at the same time.
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