Renovating your property..

So you've bought a property with plans to do it up and you've checked for any structural issues,damp & drainage problems & all is well..Lets get started in the renovation process...

Renovating an old, neglected home is exciting & fun, but it can often become a stressful experience, especially when time & money is tight & you hit unforeseen problems along the way which you may not have anticipated... Here are some tips to avoid the headaches & ensure your renovation runs as smoothly as possible

Three steps to success

Step 1: Design your space

Using the year your property was built as a guide, it’s wise to bring out the character of your property by enhancing/refurbishing any original features such as fireplaces, covings, floor tiles, arches & mouldings. The desire to rip out and start from scratch is a popular one however, by carefully refurbishing these key features, the property will be unique & its character restored. Combining clever feature restoration with modern clean lines & decoration can contribute significantly to your homes feel & also the ceiling price should you decide to sell. Another major factor to consider when doing-up your home is the use of natural sun light in the property. Before you start bashing walls out & rolling paint, spend some time in your property when the sun is peaking, remove window coverings & walk through your property to see how the light fills each room. Where does the light work, where doesn’t it work? Remember, you can never have too much light!

Next is to decide on the overall theme to your home, Think of a word that can nutshell how you want your home to feel, How will you use the space when it’s all done? Use the theme to govern your layout, colour schemes & finishes. Be prepared to be flexible, pool your ideas by cutting out images & designs from magazines until you feel certain of your choice. Visit showrooms & open houses to get a sense of the finished result. This is particularly useful when designing your kitchen. If the property hasn’t seen much love for while, check out the plumbing & electrics as it will probably need a rewire & central heating installed. Does the property have solid walls? Investing in the energy performance of your home such as IWI Insulation will save you money long term on heating costs. Look into government grants here as you may be eligible for funding.

Remember If colour selection, sunlight or theme finding isn't your bag, don't stress.Maybe your more of a numbers & figures person & your business mind might be better suited to the accounts & management side of renovating property. Designing layouts & visualizing a space before it even exists isn't everyones cup of tea so if this is the case for you and your budget allows for it you may want to hire a local rated architect or designer to help you maximize your homes potential while you get busy project managing which we'll cover in step 3.


Step2: Financing your project

Once you’ve gathered some sketches & bought some tester pots it’s time to work out costs. This step is the most important for obvious reasons-you don’t want to run out of road halfway through the project. Take time to calculate a ball point estimate which should include a buffer for potential money pits. Make sure you have the resources available to see your vision through to the end. Get  quotes from rated professional builders & ask for them in writing & agree on a payment schedule up front to keep a control of costs, Fixing prices with individual contractors means there should be little to no surprise extras when its time to settle up. If you’re a keen DIYer ,doing part of the work yourself can save on labour costs but know your limits. Toying around with electrics & plumbing or trying to skim a ceiling when you have no idea what you are doing will destroy your confidence in the renovation & end up costing you a great deal more should the professionals need to amend the shoddy work. Hiring the right people is an essential part of any renovation. Which leads us to step three…


Step3:  Project management

Smart management of your renovation will ensure money is allocated properly & each trade lines up seamlessly or are able to work alongside one another without tripping over each other’s tools. This is where doing your homework comes in, you will need an overall basic knowledge of each trade area & what your project entails, learn the lingo. ‘First fix`, ‘second fix` & ‘prep` should be words you understand by the time the builders turn up swinging hammers looking for the kettle.Always demand to see genuine customer feedback when hiring any contractor,and where possible,visit a recently completed project & talk to the customer. Let’s look at the order of trades when it comes to the builders..

 Order of trades


Work from the top & from the outside down. If you need a new roof, new windows, or are planning a loft conversion, do this first. If you want walls removed or your stairs moving, this is the time to do it. Get any steels in place, any blown plaster removed or rotten timbers out at the beginning stage of the renovation. Deciding to change the location of the kitchen halfway along will cost you a lot of time and money! Make sure the property is water tight and structurally sound before starting any interior work.

First fix:

So you’ve got all your structural stuff in place and your new windows are in. While your builder has a well-earned cuppa, get on the phone to the carpenter, Electrician & plumber to arrange the first fix stage of the renovation. This will include Door frames, stud walls, floor boards etc.(carpenter) 

Any cables for lights & power points can go in, the socket faces & light fittings will be done later..(Electrician) Also, all pipework should be fixed in place now so think layout for bathrooms/kitchens/boiler-This is the plumbers area. Most of these trades can work in unison, talk to your trades and make win win arrangements to get the ball rolling.


Once the first fix is done you can get the plasterers in. Plastering requires each room to be clear of all obstructions especially when ceiling work is involved so keep this in mind when booking. It’s a dusty messy game, so best to remove anything of any value before work begins. The plaster work will govern the final decoration & so it has to be right,Talk to your plasterer and explain what you want to do with the finish. Allow a little time for the plaster to dry before bringing the other trades back (second fix)  More Information

Second fix:

This involves fitting the socket faces & lights(electrician) Bath suites,sinks,taps & radiators(plumbers) and any skirting boards,doors,Kitchen units (carpenter) be sure to select the right style of kitchen which should tie in to the theme & of course your budget.These are final stages of your renovation.

Painting & decorating:

If you’re a dab hand and patient enough, you may want to tackle the painting & decorating yourself but again do your homework & don’t be penny wise, pound foolish here as it could spoil the appearance of the renovation. Decorating is a trade in itself & if you’re after a flawless finish you might want to hire a professional to do the work. If you intend to put your property on the market it’s wise to consider public appeal, does your choice of colour get the approval of the masses? Keep it light and airy with no dominating or unusual finishes, remember try not to get personal & keep the appeal, Look at homes that sell in your area, what do people want?

That brings us to the end of your renovation guide. Has it helped you make sense of the renovation process? Remember, the most important tool on any job is the kettle! Take plenty of tea breaks & chunk down the renovation into doable steps- you’ll soon be finished!. Good luck! 

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