Browse our renovation FAQ


Got a burning question on home renovations? Here’s a list of some Frequently Asked Questions and answers that home-owners often ask us. If there’s something else you’d like us to answer, or you want talk to us about your renovation, please get in touch. You can submit an enquiry or call 1800 33 60 33.

  • Why use Refresh for kitchens and bathrooms?

    Kitchens and bathrooms are the most complicated part of a house and involve the co-ordination of nearly all of the sub trades (e.g. designers, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, cabinet installers, tilers etc.). The quality and cost of the project depends on effectively scheduling, briefing and managing these sub trades.

    Most kitchen and bathroom specialists focus on only one aspect (e.g. design services or the fittings and cabinetry), and leave the home owner to manage the rest of the building process and other specialist work required.

    Refresh helps take cost out by working with you to make all the decisions required to ensure a quality result is achieved for least hassle, and co-ordinating all required specialists.

  • Is Refresh going to cost more?

    No, Refresh is very cost effective. Because of our scale and industry partnerships we buy at a better rate than typical renovation builders and can therefore be more cost effective for our customers.

    Our focus on careful project management also saves significant time and money for our clients.  Most people who have undertaken renovations will have experienced delays and budget over runs due to the poor co-ordination or inconsistent briefing of sub trades.  Refresh addresses both of these areas with formal project management processes.

  • Is project management going to cost me more?

    Project management takes cost out of the project. By managing the entire project and having good processes we are able to take inefficiencies and costs out of the project and avoid those unexpected surprises.

  • Is Refresh right for me?

    While it might be a cliché, it’s true that for most Australians, their home is their most valuable asset. It’s crucial that the renovation specialists who work on them are professionals with a high level of expertise.

    Houses used to be fairly basic in their construction, but the products, systems and construction techniques that are used in today’s homes are far more complex. It’s now common to install double glazing, full home insulation, special purpose wall linings, advanced heating and ventilation systems, energy efficient appliances, home automation, etc., with many of these requiring highly trained specialist installers.

    The car industry is a good analogy. Features such as air conditioning, car audio systems, airbags, electric windows and traction control used to be expensive add-ons, but now they are standard. In the past, people used to tune and service their own cars, but no one dreams of doing that these days, they take it to the professionals.

  • How do I prepare for a kitchen renovation?

    To get on your way to getting your new dream kitchen, start by gathering together ideas, designs, and your own thoughts to a new kitchen scrapbook. This might be a physical book with written, printed and cut out ideas. Or for the modern world a collection of weblinks in a favourites file. This step can take as long or as short as you like.

    Measure up the available space for the new kitchen. 

    You will need a professional measure later in the process however it is important to make a start on your design. The available space might include removal of walls and other building works like windows and doors. Measure as if these were already complete.

    Importantly also make a list of the appliances that you are intending to build into your new kitchen. Model numbers are usually enough to find the accurate dimensions online. Your new kitchen cabinets will need to be able to accommodate these whether they are new or recycled from your current kitchen.

  • What is EECA?

    Under the government's current Warm up New Zealand: Heat Smart programme, home owners can get funding to help insulate their homes and install clean and efficient heating.

    The programme aims to help 188,500 homes in New Zealand become easier and cheaper to heat - making them warmer and healthier as a result. They have committed to spending $347 million on this programme.

    Refresh have built up a network of reliable trade specialists who have the best rates. Accessing the government grants can be confusing. Refresh can identify what grants are available and help you to access them. If you would like a Refresh team member to contact you, please click here.

  • Can I install a wood burner

    The National Environmental Standards (NES) regulations provide that the wood burner standard comes into force on 1st September 2005.

    Design Standard: The design standard for a wood burner is a discharge of less than 1.5 grams of particles for each kilogram of dry wood burnt (g/kg).

    The discharge must be measured in accordance with the method specified in the Australian / New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4013:1999 – Domestic solid fuel burning appliances – Method for determination of flue gas emissions:

    Thermal Efficiency Standard: The thermal efficiency standard for a wood burner -

    (a)  is the ratio of useable heat energy output to energy input (thermal efficiency) and;
    (b)  must be not less than 65%.
    The thermal efficiency must be calculated in accordance with the method specified in the Australian / New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4012:1999 – Domestic solid fuel burning appliances – Method for determination of power output and efficiency.

    What does it apply to? Under the regulation a wood burner is defined as:-

    A domestic heating appliance that burns wood; but
    does not include –
    (a) an open fire; or
    (b) a multifuel heater, a pellet heater, or a coal burning heater; or
    (c) a stove that is –
         (i) designed and used for cooking; and
         (ii) heated by burning wood.

    Where does it apply? Regulations state that the standard applies to woodburners installed in certain properties:
    Discharge from woodburners installed in certain properties after 1 September 2005 prohibited

    The discharge of particles to air from a woodburner installed after 1 September 2005 in a building or property with an allotment size of less than 2 hectares is prohibited.
    Subclause (1) does not apply if the discharge from the woodburner complies with the design standard and the thermal efficiency standard.
    The woodburner standard applies to all new woodburners installed in urban areas in New Zealand after 1st September 2005.  For the purpose of this standard an urban area is defined as a property with a lot size of 2 hectares or less (20,000 m2). Information on the size of a lot is available from the property title or Land Information Memoranda (LIM) report.

    NOTE: This means that wood burners that do not comply with the standard can still be sold and installed into homes on a property with a lot size of over 2 hectares, unless their regional plan prevents this.

    The Standard does not apply to existing wood burners – unless they are reinstalled into a property. People will still be able to operate or install open fires, multi fuel burners, pellet fires, and wood/coal stoves designed for the primary purpose of cooking, and coal burners, unless their regional plan prevents this.

    Implementation: From 1st September 2005, all wood burners installed into a house or dwelling, on a lot size less than 2 hectares, must meet the design (emissions) and thermal efficiency standards outlined above. This includes reconditioned and/or second-hand woodburners.

    This information and images was supplied by The Fireplace. The Fireplace has been radiating warmth and style into New Zealand homes for over 25 years. They are the exclusive New Zealand supplier of leading international brands, Jetmaster, Heat & Glo and Gazco fires.

  • What else should I do while insulating my home?

    Re-cladding your house is a surprisingly viable option which can significantly increase the value of your home. Additionaly while the cladding is off, you will have the opportunity to address other aspects of a renovation, (such as insulation, wiring, plumbing etc) in a much more cost effective way. The savings you made on the other sub-trades because you've got the cladding off go a long way towards covering the cost of re-cladding.

  • Variations

    One of the aspects of renovations which makes them different from building a new home, is that there are some uncertainties before the project commences. For example, the condition of the existing framing, the wiring and the plumbing are difficult to establish prior to the linings being removed.  These uncertainties are just a reality of renovating.  However, because we are renovation specialists, we understand and are experienced with dealing with these and you can be assured we will deal with them in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible.  On our quotes, we clearly identify any uncertainties.  We discuss with you the potential implications of these and the options for dealing with them to ensure you feel comfortable before we commence the project.