If you’re planning a house renovation, being thrifty and creative are brilliant qualities to have when it comes to making changes to your home. Here’s some advice to keep your renovation moving along smoothly without too much drama…If you’ve landed on my blog, I’m guessing you’re a thrifty soul, just like me! This trait comes in particularly handy when you decide to make big changes to your home. Your creative eye sees an open plan kitchen with dining space, and your thrifty nature means you can create that from a budget half the size of most other people’s. The only spanner in the works is that renovations have the tricky little problem of going off-track and throwing unexpected costs at you. BUT it doesn’t have to be like that! These four handy tips should have you happy in your newly renovated space without too many tales of decorating heartbreak. Plus I’ve shared some before and after photos of my own home renovation!
1. CHECK THE WORK CAN BE CARRIED OUT
Wanting large, welcoming spaces in the usually segmented spaces of a British home is pretty common, but there’s always the assumption that knocking down a wall is one of the easiest parts. Most people check that their intended target isn’t a supporting wall but there are several other important things to consider –
- Are there electrics to be moved?
- Are there water pipes to be moved?
- Is there any harmful material involved?
Getting someone in to check over your home before you carry out any large scale changes is the best option. Water pipes and electrics might be an extra expense but much better than simply going at it with a sledgehammer and bursting a pipe! But what about that “harmful materials” bit? The main material to consider is asbestos, as even a small amount breathed in could be harmful in later life.
Asbestos has a lot of health and safety guidance around it (and for good reason), particularly when it comes to removal, so if you hire someone to do renovations and they suspect asbestos is present when they arrive to do the job, they’ll simply stop working on your home until it is removed. The reason guidance is so strict is the severity of illness that can be directly linked to asbestos and if linked to a work environment can lead to asbestos claims. In fact, those in the building industry are currently most at risk because of asbestos in residential properties eek!
2. WRITE A SCHEDULE
Whether you’re working on a single room or an entire property, knowing what should be done and when is the key to success. First off, is ensuring the work can be done, which I’ve made a priority over this tip because your entire project could be stopped in its tracks. There’s no point planning whether to sort the ceiling before the floor if you have to give more of your project over to moving the boiler or having asbestos removed etc.
A schedule means you don’t make costly mistakes, like scheduling a plasterer before the electrician is finished. Or having new windows fitted only to discover they’ll have to be removed because the beautiful freestanding bath you’re adding has to be brought in through the window because it’s too large for the turn on the stairs… Anyway, moving away from frustrating problems, planning also means you can figure out who should do various bits of work, which leads nicely on to the next two tips.
3. KNOW WHEN TO HIRE SOMEONE
Sometimes we think we’re capable of doing nearly every decorating job; sure, we’d never go as far as thinking we can rewire a house, but plastering? Flooring? Tiling? Painting? We’ve got it in the bag! I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but some renovation tasks you should hand over to a professional. This will cost you more but having the bathroom perfectly tiled in a single day is much more practical than most do-it-yourself attempts. My bathroom took me 9 days to finish and I was crying as I smeared grout that just wouldn’t stick on those tiles!
There’s also an element of saving money to this strategy – if you want to paint a stairway or ceilings, it’s fully possible for you to get ladders and adjustable platforms and do it. But the cost involved in purchasing equipment will probably be equal hiring someone, and at least you won’t then have to store your new painting accessories if you invest in a painter/decorator.
On the other hand, don’t hire people to do every task for you! Once you’ve handed over one task it can be easy to see the appeal of hiring someone for all the other jobs but, quite honestly, where’s the fun? You’re more capable and have more ingenuity than you think; don’t be scared to seal the sides of the bath, put up a shower curtain rail or upcycle your furniture to make it coordinate with your new feature wall.
What other tips do you have for big projects? What are your “must-dos” for an smooth and simple renovation process? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear what went right – and wrong – in your own home renovation!