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Affordable Tips for Refurbishing a Building (Exterior and Interior)

Costs can quickly add up with refurbishments, especially when unexpected problems crop up and proper preparations have not been made. If something is not done well to begin with, or too many corners are cut, refurbishments only cost more down the line in repairs.

In this guide we outline top tips for building refurbishments on a budget, helping building owners to properly plan and create a lasting, quality refurbishment without breaking the bank. It’s important to state that ‘affordable’ and ‘budget’ do not equate to cheap; refurbishments are not inherently cheap and require proper funding to assure quality. Instead, these tips help you to monitor money and make responsible financial decisions.

Check out our tips for renovating your house for more inspiration and guidance.

Refurbishing a Building Preparation

Before beginning a refurbishment, plenty of preparation and research must take place. To do an affordable refurbishment, building owners must set out a detailed plan consisting of:


Work out how much you are willing to spend on the refurbishment. Start by assessing how much materials, services, contractors, tax and other costs will set you back. It’s advised to set aside about 10-15% of the budget for emergency costs. Setting out a budget is critical to keeping a refurbishment affordable.


Outline how long the refurbishment should take, when certain aspects should be complete, and when decisions need to be made by. Although schedules can easily get changed (even by the weather!), it’s useful to refer to and use to stay on track.

Emergency plan

Do you have reserve money for unexpected costs? How long can you stay out of the building? Where else can you occupy if needed? Plan for problems so that even if they don’t occur, budget and progress aren’t impacted.


From materials to contractors, do research! Look at quality, reviews, prices, services and more. Be sure to compare providers to get the best for your money; it’s not about getting the cheapest option but the most valuable. For example, FSC or PEFC certified timber sourced from responsible forest may cost more than cheaper alternatives, but the quality and sustainability is assured.

Condition assessment

Call in an expert and have the building assessed prior to any refurbishment to save costs down the line. An expert can spot issues with dampness, pests, structural issues, drainage and more that otherwise may have been missed and troublesome.

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Affordable Building Refurbishment Tips

Once the correct preparations have been done, the refurbishment can begin. Here are 8 top tips for refurbishing a building interior and exterior while staying within budget.

Divide DIY

If you and your family/friends have time to spare, it can be surprising just how much you can get done for free. Divide up sections of the refurbishment to tackle individually, such as stripping one room at a time, so the tasks seem manageable.

Invest in Professionals

It may seem counterintuitive to pay others to do parts of the refurbishment if you are trying to keep costs low, but sometimes it is unavoidable. Electricians, plumbers, plasterers, and carpenters all have specific expertise to do a job safely and correct the first time round. Risking a DIY attempt in the first place may lead to forking out to do it properly later on.

Monitor the Refurbishment

It’s vital to stay on top of a refurbishment project, ideally visiting the site regularly and constantly communicating with onsite contractors. Building owners themselves may step in as project managers, if willing to take on the responsibility. If the refurbishment is an interior project, it may be easy to pop in and check, however, if the refurbishment is a total building re-do, travel may be required. The effort of constant monitoring is worthwhile in terms of cost and time saving, as you are aware of issues and setbacks as they occur.

Purchase Quality Materials

The affordability of materials often correlates with degradation of quality, resulting in cheap but short-term solutions. When trying to do a ‘budget’ refurbishment it may be tempting to opt for the cheapest materials, however the best solution is often to balance high- and low-end materials. By skimping where possible and splashing on key pieces, longevity and effectiveness can be assured.

For example, if installing timber cladding, it may be tempting to use the cheapest available wood. However, responsibly sourced timber, professionally treated and supplied, promises a far longer life span, resistance to decay, and no need to replace regularly.

See more: How long Does Timber Cladding Last?

Attend to Details

Especially relevant to exteriors on refurbishment projects, attending to small details instead of a whole façade can save time and money. Repainting timberwork, improving landscaping, painting brickwork etc. can totally change the look of a building without great sums of money.

Add Feature Walls

Feature walls on an interior or exterior façade are a cost-effective way to add something unique to a refurbished building without breaking the bank. Common inexpensive examples include one interior wall painted/wallpapered in contrasting colour, or timber cladding (even on the ceiling!) to add a textured element – perfect for transforming a load bearing wall from an eyesore to a special feature. Adding detailed sections to walls and façades can help add to the kerb appeal of a property, ideal for increasing resale value.

Increase Energy Efficiency

When refurbishing buildings, especially older ones, it is cost effective to improve the energy efficiency of the building, which results in decreased energy bills in the future. Ideally, heat loss is minimised, reducing the required spend on heating. Certain materials, such as timber, are effective at keeping heat in and should be used in energy efficient refurbishments. Other considerations include replacing single glazed windows with double glazed and upgrading boilers and heating systems to more efficient versions.

Salvage Waste

While removing installations during a refurbishment, it is likely there will be lots of waste generated. However, not all of it should end up at landfill. Traditional fixtures, old tiles or even previous cabinetry can be sold for profit, helping the affordability of the refurbishment.


Get Started with NORclad

Timber cladding is an ideal addition for a range of refurbishment projects, from commercial buildings to residential properties, creating kerb appeal and modern facades, even in line with various architectural styles. Whether you are refurbishing a family home or creating sleek architectural offices, check out NORclad. We supply a range of high-quality timber cladding for interior and exterior applications, working with project managers, architects and more to elevate buildings and create striking façades.

Request a quote to get started!

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See more: 9 Benefits and Advantages of Using Timber Cladding

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If you’re stuck for inspiration and want to see working examples of our expertise, feel free to browse through our case studies.

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2021-03-10T10:30:11+00:00February 3rd, 2021|

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