Remodeling a house in the Dominican Republic could be a task worthy of being in a Freddy Krueger movie, especially if you know nothing about costs and construction, or if you live in the place to be remodeled.
And no, I’m not saying all this to get “hired”, I absolutely detest remodeling, but I have plenty of experience remodeling and building houses in the Dominican Republic, and I can give you some essential advice.
There are several types of remodeling, and according to my experience in the Dominican Republic the most common are:
- Home additions (adding a bathroom, bedroom, etc.).
- Leakage problems
- Kitchen remodeling
- Flooring remodeling
Home expansion remodeling
Ok, I get it, you have a house, the family grows, you want to add more bedrooms and bathrooms, but did you have this planned from the beginning?
One of the most common cases in the Dominican Republic is the typical one-story house in which you want to build a second level.
For this, it is something very logical, but many people miss the fact, that you must have this foreseen from the beginning of the construction of the house of the first level, to be able to make foundations and columns that will support a second level.
Many people miss this fact, or perhaps did not think about it at the time, if your house is made with very thin section columns, few rods, or undersized foundations, you could have problems when building upstairs.
Another important fact, if you are going to build on the slab roof of your house, you must take into account that the walls of the second level are heavy and will transmit the weight to the slab of the first level.
In the case of slabs with considerable dimensions, the builder must make inverted beams in the roof to support these walls.
If you want to know how much it costs to add a bedroom or a house to a second level, I refer you to this topic I wrote previously about construction costs in the Dominican Republic, an estimate per M2 will give you a good precision.
How much does it cost to add a bathroom to a house in the Dominican Republic?
Previously I had already done this kind of expansion, quite a headache.
To answer the question, and according to my experience, adding a bathroom to a house will cost approximately* RD$100-150 thousand pesos ($1,700-2,700 dollars).
The cost varies according to the quality of materials and labor costs.*
This takes into account changing all the furniture, adding a decent bathtub, changing the ceramic tiles, ceiling panels, and many other details.
The most vulnerable aspects when remodeling a bathroom are the connection to the septic system.
Also, special care should be taken when drilling the tiles to place objects, most tiles break very easily, especially the cheap Chinese tiles found in the local market.
Let’s say your house is leaking in one bedroom, don’t think you’re going to solve that leak with a sheet of waterproofing on the ceiling by painting right over that bedroom.
Leakage problems are one of the most complex and abundant in houses in the Dominican Republic.
It turns out, that in the Dominican Republic there is a season of heavy rain, and it is also very sunny, the concrete of the slabs, has a cycle of exhaustion of years, which at a certain point gives way and cracks are caused.
A leak in a house’s bedroom can result starting in the kitchen, for example, if the house is very old, the ideal is to remove the entire top layer of concrete from the roof.
That surface layer, in the Dominican Republic, is called “fino”, remove the “fino”, and pour a new concrete “fino”, and then do the complete waterproofing job is the right thing to do.
The entire roof must be waterproofed and also the parapet part, which is the entire edge of the roof made with a low wall.
If the leakage occurs in any wood ceiling, it almost always goes through the screws.
In wood, you must use self-tapping screws, and these have a rubber between the head and the screw, apart from that, a special bitumen must be used in all the joints of the screw and the roof to avoid leaks.
This is not that complicated, these jobs always consist of a basic change of cabinets, and sometimes a change of the top of the kitchen.
The fundamental problem is always the woman’s indecision in choosing the kitchen handles (bad joke, but real).
Really, there is nothing traumatic that I can say about kitchen remodeling in the Dominican Republic, except that people tend to think that all granite countertops cost the same.
Granite countertops, which are usually the most common in kitchens in the Dominican Republic, are much more expensive in black and white colors.
A traumatic event that also happened to me was that a worker climbed on a granite countertop and broke it.
Something else to add, if you want kitchen faucets that are durable, do not think that those cheap “chrome” Chinese faucets will last you a lifetime, after three months they are all stained and deteriorated.
Ok, I’m going to redundant a little bit, everything that is Chinese and cheap will give you problems sooner or later in construction.
(Oh no, here he comes to trash-talking Chinese construction items again).
Seriously, a very common problem in the current construction in the Dominican Republic, for example, in those cheap apartments that are built by steam, are the floors.
They are cheap apartments, I understand that, but the floors, a few months after they have installed give problems, they are the cheapest ceramics that you can imagine, Chinese.
The problem is horrible since these floors soon peel off and you have to remodel all or a large part of them.
If you are going to remodel your floor, invest in a decent ceramic tile, it does not have to be the most expensive porcelain tile, but there is a lot of good and relatively inexpensive porcelain tile in the Dominican Republic.
A decent porcelain tile should cost 700-800 pesos per M2 (12-14 dollars).
If you plan to remodel with some concrete floors or sidewalks, remember to put electro-welded mesh, otherwise, it will crack, in fact, putting mesh is not a total guarantee that it will not crack.
Don’t hire bunglers
At the end of the day it all comes down to the people you hire for the remodeling, whatever you do, don’t hire shoddy workers in the Dominican Republic.
But, how do you know if a worker is shoddy, there are two basic ways to know, see some work done by this person, and the second way is that he will charge you for the work too cheap.
Do not be carried away by the emotion when you find a worker who charges you too cheap, in case it is not a relative or friend, it is most likely a bungler.
I could have expanded a little more on the subject, maybe I missed some points, but I did plan the most essential aspects in relation to remodeling in the Dominican Republic.
Another thing, you must keep in mind is that remodeling is not “cheap”, and almost always unforeseen events arise, remodeling is to undo to redo.
There are hidden defects, new construction is not the same as remodeling, I say this from the point of view of a builder because sometimes it is very difficult to have accurate cost estimates of major remodeling.
If you are going to remodel, don’t spend too much buying cheap Chinese materials, sometimes it is not worth so much effort for ephemeral things.