Decisions To Make Before Renovating Or Building A New Home

By Lisa Ducote
Updated November 18, 2020

Building or renovating a home is a very important part of people’s lives. It’s a time of transformation, when you finally get to create your dream home. It’s also an opportunity to spend more time with your family, making important decisions together as a team. This is an exciting process.  However, we have noticed that homeowners can easily get confused or overwhelmed if they aren’t properly prepared. To get the most out of your project, it’s important to know how to communicate your vision to architects, designers and builders.

Our mission is to help and inform homeowners, by preparing a list of the most important decisions that need to be made during renovation or new construction.

The Roof

The roof you choose will influence everything including curb appeal, safety, and energy efficiency. That’s why most homeowners have a difficult time deciding the best roof suited for their homes. The most important choices you must consider for your new roof are: 

  • Roof material — Each roofing material has its pros and cons. The choice you make should depend on the climate you live in as well as your budget and personal preferences. A few local building choices are architectural shingles, composite shingles, and metal roofing (screw down or standing seam).
  • Soffit/Fascia — There are several choices when it comes to soffit and fascia materials. The most popular are vinyl, Hardie, LP Smartside, and wood. Remember that they should complement the roofing material both aesthetically and practically.
  • Roofing ventilation — Roof vents are critical for maintaining a healthy living environment within your house. The preferred options are ridge vent, box vents, whirlybirds, and power vents. With the right vents, you can help avoid roof damage such as mold growth and high humidity. The proper intake to exhaust of air is critical in choosing the right system.

The Exterior

It’s common to make decisions about the house’s exterior based on visual appeal. Even though this is important, especially if you plan to increase home value, we highly recommend that you also focus on factors such as durability, sustainability, and lifespan.

Here are the top decisions for your house’s new exterior:

  • Exterior veneers — Many architects love using brick for an exterior veneer. Why wouldn’t they? Brick is very pleasant to look at and it can last up to 100 years. Keep in mind, there are other great options such as stucco, Hardie, vertical board & Batten, metal siding, and LP Smartside. Each of these cladding systems have their pros and cons.
  • Porch ceiling — Often porch ceilings that don’t draw too much attention are selected. Popular choices include V-Groove pine, Hardie — Smooth, Hardie- Bead, Luan, and Exterior grade Sheetrock.
  • Exterior doors — Exterior doors might not seem important, however, they play a crucial role in your house’s energy efficiency, safety, and curb appeal. They should match the aesthetic of the exterior and provide the necessary comfort. The most common design choice is wood, but there are other great options such as steel, and fiberglass. Fiberglass doors offer he best middle choice due to cost, durability, and visual appeal.
  • Exterior column — When it comes to exterior columns, the choice is much easier. Usually, it comes down few options; wood (cut timber or cox), brick, PVC (Fypon) or concrete.

The Interior

Interior options are similar to those for the exterior.

Here is what you should know:

  • Interior wall veneer — Take care when choosing the interior veneer as it will determine the room’s entire aesthetic. The decision is based on personal style preferences and it often comes down to sheetrock. Some designs may incorporate shiplap, but this is typically installed over sheetrock to meet code.
  • Interior doors — Choosing interior doors is even more exciting than choosing exterior ones, as it’s a perfect way to define the style of the home. There are many options to be considered such as hollow core, barn, solid core, and antique. In small rooms, we recommend minimalist doors to compliment and create balance in the space.
  • Interior trim — If you watch a lot of interior design shows, you will notice how everybody is obsessed with trims. These elements seem insignificant, but they have been known to either make break or room. You can choose the standard option (7 ¼ ” and 5 ¼ “), triple, and wood cased windows.  You can use trim to create new textures and add designs to an accent wall.


The most common mistakes are made when choosing windows in home renovations.  Often homeowners will prioritize visual appeal over durability and efficiency. To avoid this, we recommend focusing on:

  • Window type —The most popular type in New Construction is vinyl, but can be wood, aluminum, and wood clad. Like roof materials, each window type has its own pros and cons. For example, wood is great for curb appeal, but has a shorter lifespan than vinyl if not properly maintained.
  • Window mullion pattern — Mullions (mutins) are the vertical/horizontal lines that separate window units or screens. They are used as decorative elements or to provide support to the glazing. When it comes to the pattern, your choices will be between 4 mullions over 4, 2 over 2, 1 over 1, 4 over 1, or some combination. 4 over 4 and 1 over 1 are the most popular choices in the current market.

Utilities & Appliances

Other important aspects of your house are the utilities and appliances. It’s ideal to decide details early, including energy sources.

Ask these questions:

  • Do I want to use gas, electricity, or propane?
  • Do I want a tankless water heater or one with an electric tank?
  • What sort of appliances do I need?
  • How will I heat up the house during winter, do I want a furnace, HVAC or an underfloor heating system?

If you have difficulty selecting the right appliances, don’t be afraid to contact expert builders and architects. These questions can be complicated, and many factors should be considered before making a final decision. Often these professionals can give you the quick pros and cons they have seen.

Special Features 

Once you finish making decisions like choosing whether to use gas or propane, you can relax and have some fun. Try thinking of any special features that might improve your comfort and daily routine.

Some popular options are:

  • Brick arches
  • Wood beams 
  • Fireplaces (electric, gas or wood burning)
  • Built-in cabinetry
  • Special tubs (free-standing, soaker, jetted or garden in deck)
  • Showers (walk-in or curbed)
  • Tile showers and tile walls 

Houses are like Puzzles

Every house is one big puzzle. Even the smallest details like the window trims play a large role in the overall look and functionality of your new home. That’s why a home renovation or new build project involves a lot of decision-making and patience.

We hope that this article helps you gain more confidence about the entire process. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. Passion Home Design is a company with years of experience in architectural and interior design. We love helping homeowners build their dream homes whether by New Construction or Renovations.