7 Condo Renovation Issues During Process


    Here we want to discuss how condo remodeling process is difficult and why we struggle during it. It is more complicated and more expensive than regular house renovation and we listed below all the points that will have you thinking twice before committing to it.

    Condo apartments are relatively new in real estate and remodeling is not happening that often inside units. In fact few times when it does happen is: before selling the place, when there is a lot of damage to interior (including fire, flood, mold and other types of damages), and when you simply want to completely change the look of your condo.

    Because of all these problems you will pay more for the same remodeling that you would in regular house in the same city. And here are the seven difficulties in condo remodeling:

    • Timing
    • Parking
    • Delivery
    • Noise
    • Location
    • Space
    • Permission

    Not every company or contractor that does renovations in your area would agree to work in condo apartments simply because of these problems or some other issues they have experienced before. To find good match for your project, contact On Point Remodeling be email and we can suggest at least few companies.

    1. Timing and Scheduling for Remodeling

    In condos everything is different when you start remodeling the place. Single task like flooring installation will take double the time if you compare it to installing floor in regular house.

    Scheduling becomes extremely hard, because now you are dealing not only with workers completing each step of work, but also with management of the building, deliveries of materials and even ability to use elevator.

    It will take very experienced contractor and remodeling company to properly schedule entire job for upgrading your condo. Do not fall for promises that it will take only few weeks and prior to signing contract ask for detailed schedule break down and follow it every step of the process.

    We see time after time condo owners getting frustrated because their expectations of timing for renovation do not match with reality. Our job here is to prepare you and expect delays with condo remodeling issues.

    2. Parking for Contractors is Impossible

    If you think that management of the building will allow you to park anywhere simply because you are renovating the unit, you have another thing coming.

    Condo buildings are located in highly populated and main traffic areas where parking outside is almost impossible. Even if there is parking downstairs expect to pay for it each and every day till the end of remodeling. Because of that contractors will either automatically raise the price or ask clients to pay for their parking space while working.

    Most workers and contractors have large trucks for necessary tools and equipment that may not fit in underground parking.

    You can try and ask management for additional temporary parking spot to accommodate renovation company while the complete everything or rent a parking spot for that time. By helping contractors and spending few hundred dollars you may win much bigger cost negotiation of overall remodeling cost.

    3. Delivery Issues in Condo

    Delivery of materials issue in condo
    Curbside workers with materials ready to go up.

    When delivering materials for regular home remodeling it takes almost no planning and can be completed within few hours at most. In condo apartment remodeling it’s one of most devastating things you can imagine.

    It all starts with ordering materials way ahead of time to notify management and security. They will schedule a date for you and reserve an elevator with some protective material on walls. None of the companies can give you specific time of delivery if its days or weeks ahead.

    So your strategy would be to have a crew of workers waiting for delivery and be ready to get everything up when it comes.

    During large deliveries it may take full day for the work. Imagine brining up 60 sheets of drywall and mud boxes from parking lot to upper unit through long hallways and elevator, where you can fit only few things at a time.

    4. Noise Complaints and Regulations

    Whatever you do, the idea is to have good relationship with neighbors. They will absolutely hate the idea of someone drilling and hammering next door for a long time.

    There are tons of rules and regulations on how remodeling should be done in one of condo units. These rules are established by Condominium Corporation and management has to do everything in their power to follow them.

    No matter how accurate and law abiding you or your contractors are, expect complaints from your neighbors. People just need a reason to start complaining and thin walls of condo will definitely give them one.

    Remodeling time is very specific in condo apartments and most likely you get time lines during week days 9 am to 4 pm.  They will also have list or noise level limit for tools to use for renovation.

    Some buildings will make you protect the floors in hallway all the way from loading dock to elevator to your unit for the entire time you are upgrading the condo.

    5. Location of Existing Fixtures

    To understand more about fixtures in your condo apartment and abilities to move them let’s start with how entire building is constructed. Condos are typically made out of poured concrete and therefore have structural concrete floors through each level.

    Builders plan for drain stacks to go vertical and position all washrooms and kitchens on the same line to properly drain water with waste. HVAC and heating system is somewhat the same. It hides behind the walls and has connection to main unit for air/water circulation.

    Very often we receive question about moving or adding new bathroom in condo and in 99% of situations it is impossible to do. Here is an easy explanation. For washrooms you need water lines, drain lines exhaust vent and electrical lines.

    Electrical is very easy to adjust and add. Exhaust vent has to be either connected to main system or have separate exit to exterior of condo. To add drain lines for shower and toilet you would literally need to break concrete floor and run the drains under.

    6. Space Limitation Inside and Outside

    In condo you are stuck within the premises giving from the beginning and unit boundaries are very firm. In houses for example you have ability to build up, extend building structure on sides and even to dig down with expansion of foundation walls (underpinning process).

    Neighbors are everywhere around you and only remodeling can done inside of the unit. Even then there could be many restrictions of moving or demolishing walls, creating extra bedroom with simple separation or even doing anything on your balcony.

    This problem is very frustrating to home owners and sometimes plays a big role when deciding between purchasing house or condo.

    Before starting renovation, get familiar with local bylaws and rules of corporation in your building. The last thing you want to do is spend tens of thousand dollars only to find out that what you are doing is not allowed.

    7. Permission Needed From Management

    Permission needed from management to remodel in condo
    Manager giving strict directions to worker.

    Technically condo apartment is not yours. You buy only shares of corporation of entire building with occupancy to specific unit and ability to use common elements.

    For anything and everything you need permission from building management. It should be allowed to do small remodeling or decoration without notifying the building, but anything large or mid-size, they would be very curious to know about.

    Many home owners get pissed off because of it, but you should always put yourself in neighbor’s shoes. Would you like when someone from the building takes up several elevators for remodeling delivery or starts demolition next to you without prior notification.

    It is listed as our 7th difficulty in condo remodeling, but there should be an order and procedure for all renovations.


    We encourage all owners of condo apartments to prepare and be ready for renovation process that is longer and more expensive than in regular home. Ask companies that you are about to hire, how they will tackle these issues in condo remodeling and how you can help them to make the process easier.

    Often enough only a quick conversation with security or someone from management office can make things a lot smoother. Let them know ahead of time to prepare and potentially warn your neighbors about noise and inconvenience.

    Learn more about remodeling and products to purchase during the process in our other articles. Subscribe on our website and receive notification with new articles in this category.

    Steven H.
    Steven H.
    General Contractor and Home Builder with over 20 years of experience. Write and Edit educational posts for several Remodeling Blogs. Specialize in trade management and technical construction details.

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