Renovation Choices


New Forum Member
Nov 9, 2015
Hi Everyone,

I have some fairly big (for me) renovation investment decisions to make in the next few days and wanted to enlist the experience and expertise of people on this forum before spending the money!

This is for my primary residence which has an 1100 sqft two bedroom secondary suite below our living space and a 600 sqft 1 bedroom detached studio. We think we are going to live here for the long term as the kids (2 months and 2 years )will attend school just down the road, so maybe 15 to 20 years. Though one can never know for sure.

These are renovation decisions like the following;

Foam vs Roxull insulation, I know foam is more expensive but so is labour and materials for furring our the walls;
Whether to insulate and put plywood over an uneven concrete floor for a secondary suite;
flooring choices for a rental;
best sound insulation methods ;
siding materials choices;
whether to install a gas line so that a gas fire can be added at a later date or to leave it as baseboard. We are bringing gas in for us anyway;
Whether to install a separate electric meter for the secondary suite, separate gas meters, could we use one gas water heater for both the secondary and primary residences, or an I setting my self up for a gas bill dispute down the road?

The tenant profile for the 1-bed studio is an elderly person who may require in-home care with meals, getting dressed etc. Hence going with a low barrier to entry shower etc.

The tenant profile for the 2-bed secondary suite is likely an early to mid-thirties couple probably with a child.

I want to a good job the first time around and to invest enough in durable hardwearing materials so that I don't have to worry for a while. I want to provide a clean and comfortable place for my tenants in the hope that they will pay a little more and stay for a long time.

Now that I have a completed materials list $18K (not counting windows $13k (whole house plus studio, and kitchens $8K) and am about to engage a contractor I am second guessing myself on some of the items in the list above.

Do I really need to tear down all the drywall and re-insulate if the building inspector doesn't require it? I was going to as I have 40-year-old insulation R10 at best and it is not that much to bring it to R22.

Same with insulating the concrete floor, does it get cold enough to warrant this, can't a tenant wear slippers!

Thanks for reading this far, it has been a useful exercise just in writing it down.

Let me know if you have any opinions or suggestions for materials or ways of doing things.

Thank you in advance,


Likes: Tina Myrvang

Bryon Howard

Realtor - can't sleep until your sold!
REIN Member
Apr 30, 2015
Go Big! Do it right now.
I don't think you need separate meters ... depending on the market conditions ... sometimes you will include utilities ... sometimes you will charge upto 40%.
Yes - slippers are probably going to be fine for the lower tenant ... and carpets.


Brad Redekopp
Apr 30, 2015
Not to sure how cold it gets there and if you run NG or electric baseboard heat. I’ll try to answer in order of your questions;

Foam vs Roxul - spray foam is good for moisture issues but if it’s just for insulating and noise reduction fibreglass batt insulation is just as good as any. There is cost savings using batt compared to roxul with the same performance.

I use dricore that way it’s
a) warmer on the feet
b) creates a even floor to use glue down vinyl planks. Which is the flooring you want, tenant kicks it with his cleats playing soccer in the house. You cut it out, put another piece in boom, done.

Refer above for best flooring choices

On vertical noise between the floor joists put you can put R-20 insulation, T-bar strapped 24” 0.C., 1/2 drywall (you can use 5/8 or double layer 5/8 but not a big stc difference for the cost).
If your want the best of the best you use 2 layers 5/8 for the ceiling, T-Bar 24” O.C.,R-20 batt, 23/32 OSB and 1 1/2” of gypete..

Siding can vary depending what you want, do you want some cool architecture or just want to throw siding on, google some cool siding architecture and look what material it is, longboard has some of the nicest stuff.

If your closing in any wall you want to make sure you put whatever you need in there

You always want to meter separately whenever possible, you need to check with your planning and development office about the requirements for legal suite, in Saskatoon they won’t meter illegal suites

If it is specifically for barrier free there is a lot of added expense and knowledge, wider doors, cabinet and appliance placement, certain clearances in bathrooms for wheelchairs, some good research in this would do it, a lot of layout planning is required.

General tips for the Reno, is depending on what is required the budgeted 18k won’t go far. Durable everything is great, vynal plank preferable glue down so it’s easily repaired, LED lights, durable shower enclosures, sounds proofing is huge


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Likes: bb2


Inspired Forum Member
Sep 19, 2007
Collingwood, ON
Brad, could not of said it better ! I'll add my 2 cents. Below grade i prefer foam insulation. I shy away from plywood or dricore on the floor if possible. Trapped moisture and/or water entry under the subfloor will cause mould issues. As a restoration contractor for over 30 years i've seen this many times. I like ceramic flooring. I know it can be "colder" but water is easier to clean up. Tenants can use area rugs.