Do you want to renovate your home but not sure where to start?
Big renovation projects can take up a lot of time and research, and often requires a lot of patience, but the end result will be more than worth it. Here we take a look at the six biggest house renovation projects, guiding you through all the options to consider, and the pitfalls to avoid.
The staircase is one feature of your home where improvements can really add the wow factor. A showstopping design, in wood, steel, glass, stone or concrete, with sparkling glass or shapely wooden balustrades, can completely transform the entrance to your home.
If the intention is to move the stairs, the 'circulation' – how people move around your home – is important. 'Consider the space as a whole, not just the hallway or immediate vicinity of the staircase,' says Richard McLane, founder and design director of Bisca. 'If you have an open-plan arrangement, the stairs will be on view from more than one angle. And think how you approach the staircase – would a curved design, or directional bottom treads be an option?'
For a modern look, consider a cantilever staircase, where one side appears to float freely. You'll need the advice of a structural engineer before fitting one.
Helical stairs make a statement where space isn't an issue or for a loft or basement. There are spacesaving options with alternating wide and narrow treads. Expect to pay upwards of £20,000 for a bespoke staircase, or just a few hundred pounds for an off-the-peg solution. A refurbishment service from Neville Johnson, for £2,400 plus, gives stairs a facelift with new treads, balustrades and newel posts; or try James Grace for new stairs and refurbishments.
Every aspect of a staircase is controlled by Building Regulations, including the tread sizes, the 'rake' or angle, as well as the floor space and landings. A handrail is a must.
Beautiful wood and stone, practical tiles and on-trend concrete and resin floors are all options for creating a spacious feel. First decide whether you want underfloor heating and, if using wood, whether it's suitable for use with this. Ask your fitter how any steps or changes in level will be dealt with. What's beneath the floor finish really counts. Existing floorboards must be dry, level and woodworm-free. A layer of 6mm plywood or an underlay may be needed on top. A concrete sub floor must be dry, level and, if at ground level, must have a damp-proof membrane.
Plan in time between delivery and fitting before a wood floor is fitted as it needs time to acclimatise to the moisture levels in the house – this could be just a couple of days for engineered boards or more than a week for solid flooring. Solid wood flooring usually has tongue-and-groove planks, which are glued or nailed down, or use a click system. Engineered boards and laminate usually click together, forming a 'floating' floor on top of a soundproof underlay.
3. Front door
Create the right impression with a door that shows off the house to its full advantage. For a traditional home, the classic choice will match the style of those in the street, but fashions are moving on and for a distinctive look, or for a modern house, new looks include eye catching wood doors with horizontal detailing and extra-wide doors, some of which pivot, for a home where the hall can accommodate a wider frame.
Expect to pay from about £350 for a pre-hung door set in uPVC, complete with frame; a bespoke replacement timber front door, tailored with panelling, glazing and detailed to match an original one, can cost more than £4,000.
4. Internal doors
Moving a door, or changing it to open inwards or outwards, can greatly improve the use of the space in a cramped home. Or consider a pocket door, which slides away discreetly, as an elegant alternative solution. The simplest style of an internal door is a flush version, with no panels. If finished in a thick layer of quality hardwood veneer it will look and feel authentic.
Panelled doors come in solid softwood or hardwood, with pine being the cheapest. Pressed doors mimic panelled doors, using a moulded facing on a timber frame. The trend for folding-sliding doors for extensions is also a fantastic solution for interior spaces.
Before widening the opening in a structural, supporting wall, you'll need the advice of a structural engineer, and if the work is close to the party wall, consult your neighbours, who may ask you to sign a party wall agreement. A new loft requires a fire door, and often changes to the other doors in the home or a sprinkler or mist system so check with Building Control.
Taking out much of the back wall of the house and replacing it with an expanse of glazing blurs the boundary between the indoor and outside space.
'With sliding doors you have the opportunity to incorporate much larger panes of glass in proportion to frame. However, the flexibility of bifold doors enables you to fully maximise an opening by folding back the doors,' says David Clarke, marketing manager at ID Systems. If you're simply replacing existing patio doors, usually planning permission isn't needed. But if you're widening the opening, building an extension, or are in a conservation area or listed house, check with your local council.
Whatever your project, you must always meet Building Regulations, and the glazed area must not make the house less energy efficient.
Pairs of folding sliding doors start at about £1,500 from DIY stores; expect to pay considerably more for bespoke sizes, specific types of glazing and frames from a specialist firm.
Original windows are worth keeping hold of but need regular maintenance. 'Aside from the obvious cost benefit, refurbishment of existing windows improves their performance while preserving the historical integrity of the building and can be completed without a lengthy manufacturing delay,' says Richard Dollar, managing director of The Sash Window Workshop.
To meet current energy regulations new windows must normally be double-glazed, but if you're in a listed building or conservation area, seek advice from your council's conservation officer first. Generally, uPVC is the cheapest material, followed by softwood, then hardwood, steel or aluminium and composites.
When selling your property, you'll need a certificate for any replacement windows installed since 2002, showing that the installer was registered with the FENSA scheme, or from your local authority's Building Control, to prove they comply with Building Regulations.
From: Miescisko magazine
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