Collaborative Post¦ We are just over 18 months into renovating our house, so we have picked up a lot of tips along the way. When we moved in, we had all these ideas in our head about how we wanted to get rid of the ugly dolphin tiles and decorate the bathroom. In reality, everything has taken much longer and we still have our 80’s dolphins! While it may not look or feel like much is being done, it’s important to get the things under the surface done before the cosmetics. Things like insulation, damp and wiring are all best to do before you decorate and end up undoing your hard work when problems arise in in the future. There are also some practical things you may have overlooked thinking about before you renovate.
1. Insulation is Important
Did you feel the hit of the energy bills increase over the winter? Us too, you’re definitely not alone! Having good insulation is essential for keeping the heat in and the bills down. Of course there is some initial outlay of costs, but it’ll save you a lot of money in the long run. It’s better for the environment too, as you won’t need to use as much energy to keep your house warm, reducing your carbon footprint. Ways you can do this include sealing gaps in your walls, window insulation and draught excluders. For more information on how to insulate your home well, check out Builder Depot’s guide outlining insulation tips to save money at home.
2. Check for Damp
Before you start plastering or decorating walls, you’ll need to check for signs of damp. If there are any, try to find the cause and fix it. When we bought our house, there was a patch of paint and wall that was crumbling next to the back door. It turned out the damp course on the wall outside needed redoing. Things like this certainly don’t feel as rewarding as decorating a room. However, they need to be done first otherwise your hard work will just get ruined!
3. Make Arrangements Before Starting
Is the water going to be off for a while while you’re renovating? Make sure you have flasks full of hot water for tea and cooking, plus jugs of water in the fridge. Likewise, if the electricity is going to be off for a while, make sure that any devices you want to use have a good amount of charge.
If you have children, it will make it easier to do work while they’re at school. After school hours or if they’re too young for school, it would be a good idea to see if a friend or family could look after them. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself constantly stopping and starting to get them snacks, review their drawings and breaking up arguments between siblings. This all makes everything take much longer.
Of course, if work is going to be hazardous, it is definitely best to keep children out of the way. If they need to be in the house, you may want to install safety gates. This is also advisable for dogs, too. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the work that’s hazardous, either. If you or workmen are going to be frequently moving in and out of the house, it would be easy for children or animals to escape.
3. Declutter to Make Life Easier
The ideal is to live elsewhere while you’re renovating. However, most of the time this just isn’t possible. We were still living in our house while smashing the plaster off the walls of every room last summer. It was a dusty, chaotic mess!
One thing that did help was moving as many things as possible out of the way first. Having a good declutter means there’s less to move from room to room as you’re renovating. Hauling things around is definitely one of the most cumbersome parts, so make things easier for yourself. My husband and brother really wished I’d done that with my books after having to move 5 heavy boxes of them from room to room several times.
You could just put everything in your loft or hire a storage container, but ultimately you’re just going to have to sort through it again. Your best bet is to go to a boot fair. That way you’ll earn some more money to put towards your renovations too.
5. Plan Carefully
Renovating costs both time and money, so it’s important to plan very carefully. Do your research into what you need to do and what materials you’ll need. Shop around when you’re buying your materials, as prices and quality can vary between shops.
Compare paint, floor and fabric samples together in store to make sure they actually work together in real life. Always use tester pots to check what the paint looks like in your room as lighting can effect how it looks so much. I loved the yellow paint in the hallway at my old house. Yet when we tried a sample of it in my parents’ hallway when they were redecorating it looked dull rather than fresh.
If you’re using workmen, make sure you check out examples of their work and reviews first. Beware of friends and family writing fake ones to up the number of positive reviews. If your friends, relatives and people you know well can recommend someone they have personally used, that can be a good way to go.
It’s also important to budget carefully as part of your planning. Make sure you always give yourself more money than you’ll need as a safety net. Things always inevitably seem to end up costing more, one way or another!