Condo Renovation

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Are You up for a High Rise Renovation? Everything You Need to Know About High-Rise Condo Remodeling

How do you make home renovations more interesting? That’s easy. Hoist them thousands of feet up in the air!

We’re talking about condo remodeling. More specifically, high-rise condo remodeling. It’s not something that your standard home renovation contractors can do.

High-rise condos present a unique set of construction and design challenges. It’s hard to walk into a condo renovation in Houston without having done it before. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been renovating single-family homes.

Today, we’re going to dive into everything you need to know about high-rise condo remodeling. Throw everything you thought you knew about home remodeling out the window. We’re going to cover the skills you need, the time it takes, how to plan out the process, and we’ll even go over the insurance your contractor needs to get the job done.

So, stick around. We’re going to the top!

High Rise On the Rise

You might be asking yourself “what’s so important about high-rise renovations?” Well, have you seen the Houston skyline lately?

New high-rise projects are going up seemingly every day. And developers don’t plan on stopping them.

Homeowners love them too. High-rise condos offer homeowners all of the amenities of modern living right in the heart of Houston. The owners of these units love being close to the downtown social scene. They also like the idea of low maintenance.

Owning a high-rise condo is different than owning a house. The only repairs you’re responsible for are things inside your unit. Everything else is the responsibility of the owner of the building or your Homeowners’ Association (HOA).

Condo Challenges

Before you run out to buy a condo unit, you should take a look at the local market. If your market is anything like Houston, new high-rise condos cost a pretty penny.

In fact, certain units in the city can sell for seven or eight figures. The average pricing of a new-build, high-rise condo averages anywhere from $500 to $800 per square foot. That adds up to a sales price of well over $1,000,000.

It’s hard for most people to afford that kind of price range. That’s why more and more buyers are turning to the older condo units.

Why older condos? Well, for one thing, you’ll pay about half the price for a unit in a similar area. Another reason is that you can use the money leftover in your budget to treat an older unit like a blank canvas.

When buying an older unit, you’ll be in the same area for less money. That means all of that extra money can go to customizing the home to fit your life. The only drawback would be the amenities.

New condo highrises come with state-of-the-art gyms, doormen or concierge services in the lobby, and any other bells and whistles you can think of.

You may not get that with your unit. But you’ll be paying less in HOA fees every month, and you’ll have the opportunity to build the home of your dreams by doing a condo renovation in Houston.

Condo Renovation in Houston

Renovating a high-rise presents new challenges. Even for the best renovation contractor near me.

Condo remodeling requires coordination with the building’s HOA. That’s one of the biggest differences between condo and home renovation contractors.

HOA Rules

HOAs have very strict guidelines for what can go on in their buildings. Because you’re living in a building with hundreds of other people, your renovation affects them as well. HOAs may have rules regarding what time work can be done.

They also have very tight security. Workers that are coming to complete your renovation are going to need clearance by the front desk in the building. Workers can’t just “drop by” unannounced to quickly finish up a job.

Kitchen remodelers in Houston can’t just swing by and drop granite off whenever they feel like it. There are a lot of rules and regulations to comply with.

Design Limits

Condo buildings can also present issues when it comes to the renovation process. For starters, there is the obvious issue of getting materials to and from the job site. The higher up your unit, the more complex things become.

You’ll also face issues with demolition. In most buildings, there needs to be a clear path for entering and exiting the unit. This can be a challenge during a full-scale demolition.

You’ll also need to be careful when removing any old fixtures, flooring, etc. The HOA or Condo Association doesn’t want any damage to their freight elevators. And this isn’t like a home remodel where you can have a roll-off dumpster delivered on-site.

All renovation materials need to be placed in an approved container. Then, once removed from the building, they need to be placed in a special dumpster on the property or carted off immediately in a vehicle.

The lack of usable space prevents you from storing debris on-site until the end of the job. It also prevents material storage.

Dealing With Materials

Normally, with a single-family home, contractors can store materials in the driveway or garage. Having this room for storage makes life a lot easier for contractors doing home remodeling near me.

Materials are there as soon as contractors need them and vendors can deliver whenever it suits them. Now, contractors don’t have materials readily available. And vendors have to hash out a very specific delivery schedule with contractors.

If no one is there to sign off for supplies, it’s easy to lose several days here and there because of missed deliveries.

It takes a lot of expertise and coordination to store materials out of the way of future work. And to properly coordinate the deliveries needed to get the job done.

Specialized Labor

Skilled workers like plumbers, electricians, etc. also need to know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to condo renovations. If a plumber messes up and causes a leak, the whole building has to deal with it. The same thing if an electrician goes in and accidentally short circuits a wire.

You also have to be careful of dust and debris. The entire high-rise is on one air system. Any hazardous dust that’s created will travel through the entire building. It’s also easier to trigger the smoke alarm system.

That’s why it makes sense to work with condo pros. Contractors who have years of skill and expertise working on condo units inside high-rise buildings. It’s a challenge for even the best contractors near me.

Plan Ahead

One of the best solutions to solve the challenges that come with condo renovations is planning. The great thing about condos is that many of the floorplans are similar.

In any given building, unit 301 is laid out like unit 302. Typically units on the same side of the building are laid out the same way. On the opposite side of the building, they are laid out the same way just in reverse.

Because of this “copycat” layout of the buildings, chances are that another resident in the building has done a renovation similar to what you’re trying to do. Do some “recon.” Go to open houses in the building. Find units that have the same layout as yours and see what’s been done.

You’ll also want to head down to the front desk and ask for a renovation application. Most condo buildings have one and it’s good to get a copy before things get started. Some buildings have a stricter application process than others. It’s a good idea to know exactly what you’re getting into.

Choose Experience

It will also help to work with a contractor who’s done condo remodeling in the building before. Someone who has worked in the building before is very familiar with the framework of the building itself.

They will have inside knowledge into what you can and can’t do inside your condo, what walls you can move and what walls can’t be moved, etc.

The Nitty Gritty

When it comes to doing the actual labor of the renovation, most areas of your condo can be replaced pretty easily. Since they are one unit within a much larger structure, there typically isn’t much in the way of load-bearing walls or structural supports. There may be some, but there are generally fewer obstructions than in a single-family home.

Where you may experience challenges in the kitchen. Kitchen remodelers in Houston should be familiar with condo kitchens. Water travels into the unit only in certain spots. That is tough to change.

This means kitchens, bathroom plumbing, washers, and dryers, would need to stay in pretty much the same spot.

Solving Condo Renovation in Houston

Condo renovation in Houston is a whole different ball game than renovating single-family homes. If you’re wondering “who is the best renovation contractor near me?”, you need to also ask who is going to be the best for condo remodeling.

At Alquimia, we have decades of experience working in Houston’s high-rise condo buildings. We’ll be able to walk you through the process and get you the exact answers you need if problems arise. We’ve been doing this long enough that we keep problems at a minimum, but like any renovation, there’s always something.

Contact us anytime. We’re more than happy to answer any questions and we look forward to being your go-to condo solution in Houston.


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