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Renovation Tips


Property renovation is almost a rite of passage for anyone hoping to climb the housing ladder but with ambitions beyond their means. Renovation is not without its risks. A common solution is to complete renovation work including re-plastering and decoration. There is a logical order in which renovation works should be undertaken. Preparing a plan of attack is also a very useful way of estimating the likely cost and time schedule of a renovation project. The first stage of any renovation project is to get a detailed assessment of the current condition of the property. The building report will reveal the type of construction which is supposed to be used across different parts of the house. Where funds are restricted, it will allow works to be prioritized without compromising the end result or wasting money.

What To Consider

Buying Without a Survey - Find out as much about a property as possible before you buy, or before you start any work. A building survey, undertaken by a Chartered Building Surveyor will provide information on the type of construction and materials used.

Hiring Cowboy Builders - Renovation can turn into a nightmare if your builders or subcontractors fail to do a good job, Make Sure Your Builder, understands the job and what is involved, Has undertaken similar work before, Will provide details of previous clients and is confident of undertaking the required work.

Previous Clients Feedback - What was the builder like to work with, Was the work of a satisfactory standard, Was the project completed on budget & time, Would they use them again, what materials were used, were they transparent enough.

Underestimating Costs - Renovation work always costs more than you expect. This is because some problems are not revealed until you start work and uncover them, but mostly because items are forgotten from the budget. Always keep some buffer funds in case such a situation arises. To estimate costs, look at other people's projects and expect to spend a similar amount. Alternatively, get a builder's estimate. This is not a quote and the builder cannot be held to it, but an experienced builder should be able to give a fairly accurate guess.

Using the right materials - It is very important to choose the right kind of material while renovating your home as this would result in reducing your cost and also the right material would provide you a more energy efficient home post the renovation.

Investment - Renovation sometimes asks for long-term planning if all requirements, for example flexibility in usage, aesthetics and sustainability targets, as well as regulations have to be met, while staying within the available budget. It is not only an investment in your quality of life but also in the building itself, as it increases the value of the property and extends its lifespan.

Aesthetics - a new appearance - We want to feel good in our homes and, aside from that, our friends and families should feel comfortable and admire our home, too. Besides being warm and having the space we need, the charisma of our home, its look and feel, should therefore reflect our personality. What needs to be considered to achieve this distinct personal look and "feel good" atmosphere? Colors make a big difference and, of course, the material surrounding us. Additionally, you should also consider the daylight and the room layout.

Energy efficiency - The most sustainable energy is the one that is not used! The question is how do you make the existing building more energy-efficient which in turn reduces your utility bills and also improve the indoor climate.

Using The Right Materials

Plywood - This is available in large size sheets with a uniform surface and in thickness ranges from 4 mm to 25mm. That makes it economical to use and also easier for carpenters to shape and fabricate furniture with good looks, especially table tops and cupboard and cabinet doors with uniformity throughout.

Cinder Blocks - Poured and paneled concrete might be the more obvious choices, but everyday cinder blocks can also lend a sophisticated industrial effect to walls and floors.

Acoustic Tiles - Prized primarily for their ability to absorb and remit sound, acoustic tiles are also kind of mod and cool-looking.

Copper & PVC Pipes - Copper water pipes are durable. Copper pipes are good at handling heat without losing strength or shape and are resist corrosion and high water-pressure. Copper and PVC pipes offer value for money, especially when installation costs and durability are taken into account.

Ceramic Tiles - Advantages of Ceramic Flooring Tile. Ceramic Water Resistance: Glazed ceramic flooring tiles have a protective layer that rests over the material, making them impervious to water and stain penetration. ... Durable Ceramic Tile: Ceramic flooring is extremely tough and the tiles are difficult to crack.

Clay / Concrete tile - Overlapping concrete or clay tiles can be stylish and effective. Both have a long lifespan, require minimal maintenance, and offer natural insulation.

Gypsum area separation walls are lightweight, non-load bearing gypsum partition that provides fire-rated capacity typically used between adjacent walls on townhouse construction. Gypsum separation walls provide a 2-hour fire protection and also serve as noise reduction between neighboring units.

Seasonal Time To Renovate

Renovating January through early March - Despite the thought of working outside in the cold winter months, this is actually a good time to start an addition. Dry ground and dry air are better for digging foundations and pouring concrete footers than muddy ground and humidity. You'll likely have fewer "rain days" where no one works on the construction site. Thus this is an ideal situation for renovating.

Renovating April through June - This is the busiest time for most builders, so it's probably when you'll pay the most money for their time and for materials. It's the simple law of supply and demand. This is traditionally home building season, not only because consumers are finding the money to do projects, but also because it's the time we start to come out of winter hibernation and want something new.

Renovating July through September - Tackling indoor work like kitchen or bathroom renovating is recommended during the summer months. The last thing you want to do in the sweltering heat is an attic bedroom! To most people's surprise, however, roofing projects are often done in the summer, because the roofing material needs certain higher temperatures to seal. If you vacation in summer or have a summer home, it's great to plan your renovating effort for when you and your family will be away. You can avoid all the unpleasant inconveniences of living with a renovation and come back to a brand new addition.

Renovating October through December - While the first part of this quarter is ideal for outdoor work and new construction starts, it is traditionally the time when homeowners want their renovating finished. The impending holidays are a looming deadline for builders, and there's a scramble to get things done by mid-November. Although there is a possibility that the contractors would want to go for vacations during the fall summer season making it difficult for the consumer to find the right contractors availability.


Unless your living room is perpetually peppered with buckets catching leaks, or you hear your neighbors gossiping about your outdated roof, chances are you've probably never considered replacing it. Waiting until those leaks get worse though, or for other serious problems to arise can be a costly mistake. On the other hand, being proactive and replacing or repairing your roof can save you time, money, and frustration in the future.

  • Talk to friends, family, and neighbors who may have had a roof renovation in the past.
  • Ask for a list of licensed roofers or contractors in your area.
  • Screed - A layer of well compacted material, commonly a mixture of cement and fine aggregate, that is applied to a base at the appropriate thickness and that has a surface suitable for receiving a floor finish.
  • If you find yourself dealing with a leaky ceiling every season, it might be time to replace your roof Clay / concrete tile, overlapping concrete or clay tiles can be stylish and effective.
  • Asphalt composition shingles, generally the least expensive and most widely used roofing material, these may not be the most stylish shingles, but they work for a variety of roof angles and styles.
  • Fiber Cement is durable and available in many textures and colors, fiber cement is sensible especially in areas near the ocean that must withstand salt air and wind but it is heavy and can be difficult to repair.


  • Make sure you have a dated blueprint of your desired kitchen design, drawn up by an architect, to bring along to preliminary meetings
  • Most contractors and interior designers get 10 percent trade discounts on appliances. If you do buy your own kitchen devices, see if the contractor will pick them up and deliver them curbside at no extra fee.
  • Mirrors are especially useful when there is no, or minimal, natural light in a kitchen. They can help to open the space up and bounce light around. Light colors help to visually expand the space.
  • Open shelves are extremely functional and make it so much easier to access dishes and glasses.
  • Laminate Countertops, It may not be your first choice, but for those that can't splurge for quartz or granite, laminate is a durable choice that is super easy on your budget.
  • Wood is by far the most common material used for cabinets. It is a non-toxic and renewable resource. Bad-quality timber boards show warps and dents, so care must be taken to buy the right wood.
  • Poly-vinyl chloride sheets are composite plastic sheets which give a tough finish. This material is termite-proof, anticorrosive and easy to maintain. Just like laminates, PVC sheets are easy to source and replace. These sheets are not fire-resistant.
  • Metal cabinets are very strong and durable. Metals boast a unique look. Treated metal is sturdy, rust-resistant and stain-resistant. Metal doors are unaffected by heat and humidity. These sheets also have the tendency to dent and scratch.


  • Working with a designer or architect may seem like a pricey move right out of the gate for someone wanting to remodel their bathroom on a budget, but it is money well spent.
  • Another reason to work with a designer on your bathroom renovation: Using the existing piping will save you big bucks.
  • Dress up that builder-grade mirror with a fantastic frame, and at a fraction of the price of sourcing a huge hanging mirror.
  • When remodeling your bathroom, consider replacing your toilet seat and lid instead of tossing out the whole porcelain perch. Thus changing out these two tops can give your toilet a fresh look without buying a new unit, which saves you plumber installation fees.
  • The bath doesn't have to have tile to the ceiling: consider alternatives like reclaimed wood panels, board and batten, or bead-board as high-end looking tile replacements.
  • Let There Be Lighting - Adding lots of light to a bathroom is one of the most valuable changes a homeowner can make, and it doesn't have to break the bank.
  • Avoid doing major re-plumbing or re-piping work, if possible. Moving the plumbing around is very expensive and can cost a lot of money. We've heard of many homeowners who underestimated the cost of plumbing renovation and had to settle for less expensive counters and cabinets.
  • Consider your impact on the environment as you choose materials and fixtures. Eco-friendly fixtures may cost more initially, but they can reduce your water usage by a substantial amount, thereby also saving you on water costs.
  • Good ventilation is crucial. Without it, your bathroom will remain damp and can end up growing moldy. Not only do you need to choose the right fan, but it needs to be installed in the proper position to be effective.

Living Basics

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