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    Tips when refurbishing a house?
    • #1
    • 15th Mar 11, 11:27 PM
    Tips when refurbishing a house? 15th Mar 11 at 11:27 PM
    I just bought a new house today and have been enjoying planning what we're going to do with it. When we bought our last house, we refurbished quite a few of the rooms. Thinking back, some things were a great use of money and others were a complete waste. I was wondering if people had tips for what had worked well for them and what they regretted.

    For example...
    • I bought cheap taps that gunked up and had to be replaced. Higher quality ones were well worth the money.
    • Can't see any point in going for posh paint, e.g. Fired Earth. Is there a difference?
    • I put in new power points and network points when re-doing the walls. They proved really handy.
    • The builder put in an extractor fan that's so noisy that we never use it. Wish I'd bought a quiet one.
    • Underfloor heating in the bathroom was a great idea.
    • I paid the builder when they'd done 98% of the work. I could never get them to finish the other 2%.
    • I bought a cheap infra-red repeater that means that my DVD player etc can be hidden in a cupboard. Great.
    • The builder put in a boiler that means we don't get any hot water out the tap for 10 seconds. Wish we'd got a better one.
    • I got a Smeg dishwasher which proved to be style over substance. Probably should have gone for Bosch, right?
    • The mail order blinds we got from were great and fairly inexpensive.
    • I got the layout of one of the rooms wrong and as a result never use half of it.
    • I bought LED bulbs which seem to flicker and aren't all that bright. Should have stuck with classic ones.
    • I used dimmers instead of regular light switches. Nice to be able to control the lighting.
    So, I'm not really looking for comments on those things (although feel free) but just interested to hear about things that have worked well for you. I actually have a pretty good budget to refurbish the house. About £100K. But even with a good budget it's easy to waste money. I've got three major jobs: installing central heating; new bathroom; new kitchen.

    Help appreciated.
Page 1
    • HelenDaveKids
    • By HelenDaveKids 16th Mar 11, 9:39 PM
    • 2,903 Posts
    • 19,206 Thanks
    • #2
    • 16th Mar 11, 9:39 PM
    • #2
    • 16th Mar 11, 9:39 PM
    We've extended extensively before and have recently moved (in December) to a big renovation project. We have just put in plans for a 2 storey extension and are waiting for it to be passed and then when start building to start the renovation. We too need rewire, new central heating, kitchen, bathroom. Hence similar position.

    My advice would be live there a little while to get the "feel" of the place as I was adamant about a wall being reinstated but now realise it was removed because of an issue with natural light. I was equally adamant to make 2 rooms (downstairs) into 1 but again whilst waiting for plans ive had time to Live here.

    Once we've extended (this yr) we intend to patio the garden etc, but want to have a summer first to get an idea about were it should go etc.

    my other advice would be try and work out the order you are doing stuff, no point painting and decorating if doing major work as the dust gets everywhere.

    I've got a car that I can turn into a van at a seconds notice and I expect already saved hundreds taking stuff to council tip rather than having a skip.

    • docmatt
    • By docmatt 17th Mar 11, 8:00 AM
    • 603 Posts
    • 286 Thanks
    • #3
    • 17th Mar 11, 8:00 AM
    • #3
    • 17th Mar 11, 8:00 AM
    I think one of the most important things is buy quality, like if you had bought the more expensive extractor it would have been quieter and a better boiler would have given you the hot water quicker.

    When you go for the cheaper quote you get cheaper stuff. We're in the process of having a new CH system installed and we've paid the top price, 2k more than the middle figure but for that we get the top-of-the-range megaflow syastem, worcester bosch boiler and a pump that circulates the hot water all the time giving you instant hot water the second you turn the tap.
  • ormus
    • #4
    • 17th Mar 11, 8:58 AM
    • #4
    • 17th Mar 11, 8:58 AM
    aye, expensive taps are the best. the more money the better.
    check out the posh taps in tother thread.
    Get some gorm.
    • kabayiri
    • By kabayiri 17th Mar 11, 9:19 AM
    • 9,112 Posts
    • 22,384 Thanks
    • #5
    • 17th Mar 11, 9:19 AM
    • #5
    • 17th Mar 11, 9:19 AM
    If you like music, and want an integrated set up, I would plan out a zonal system, and run something like CAT5e to the celing locations where you may want to put these recessed speakers.

    I'm just picking up on your bullet point :-
    "I bought a cheap infra-red repeater that means that my DVD player etc can be hidden in a cupboard. Great."

    You sound like me, in that I don't want to see my music or video playing equipment, just hear it.

    Have a look at Sonos as a start point, and work from there.
  • dave82
    • #6
    • 17th Mar 11, 12:00 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Mar 11, 12:00 PM
    Do any major works first! e.g. wiring and plumbing

    plan, plan, plan and plan again

    My advice is 90k you still have 10k left
    • VfM4meplse
    • By VfM4meplse 17th Mar 11, 12:07 PM
    • 16,692 Posts
    • 30,697 Thanks
    • #7
    • 17th Mar 11, 12:07 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Mar 11, 12:07 PM
    Good luck with the refurb. I love my mod cons but always dread weekends that involve hard graft and no R&R! Interior design is another matter altogether, that is pure joy...
    • foxymum1977
    • By foxymum1977 17th Mar 11, 12:26 PM
    • 425 Posts
    • 170 Thanks
    • #8
    • 17th Mar 11, 12:26 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Mar 11, 12:26 PM
    one of our regrets is when we moved in nearly 7 years ago we started a lot of rooms together rather thatn one at a time and not one of them is 100% finished even if its finishing touches such as blinds!!
    also i regret not having a built in microwave fitted above my double oven!
    went for cheap appliances through MFI with our kitchen to cut costs, washing machine died after a month!!!!

    one thing i;ll always be pleased with is that we (i lol) decided to spend the last bit of money on having granite worktops installed & it was worth every penny and makes the kitchen look very expensive when really its an MFI kitchen!!

    good luck with your planning.
    mummy to 3 monsters!
    trying to money save, but spot too many bargains on here!!
  • DavidA
    • #9
    • 17th Mar 11, 1:45 PM
    • #9
    • 17th Mar 11, 1:45 PM
    Wow! Thanks for the great responses.

    I have the luxury of being able to renovate the new house before moving out of our current house. I'm going to be able to leave most of the hard work to people that know what they're doing; I'm better with a keyboard than a hammer.

    I think that more expensive usually means better quality, but I also think there's a point when you're paying over the odds. It's hard to know when that is! I assume that brands such as Bosch, Fired Earth etc. are usually worth the money? Any other brand recommendations? I think that German products are usually high quality, but I'm not sure what names to look for.

    Regarding kabayiri's point about wiring, absolutely. I have a lot of cables and I like them buried. Hadn't even considered speaker sockets, but that makes perfect sense. I'm not sure if the house needs re-wiring. Secretly I'm hoping that it does so that I can go to town on it. Regardless, it will need re-decorating.

    I am really looking forward to a kitchen upgrade. Our current cooker just seems to blow hot air over our food and the microwave eats a large portion of our work surface. Quality, integrated units will be great. Is there any disadvantage in getting them integrated and hidden, e.g. with a cupboard door on the washing machine?

    More tips appreciated!
  • dave82
    We got integrated appliances and the dissadvantages are as follows :-

    1. More expensive
    2. Less choice
    3. Extra planning when running pipes and electrics

    People will also argue that when something goes wrong they are a nightmare.

    Our washingmachine and dishwasher simply have a door screwed onto them and pull in and out the same as regular ones even though they are proper intgrated appliances. So I don't really agree with that argument. Perhaps it is valid for the fridge/frezer which is built into the cupboard.

    For us though it looks much nicer but this is personal taste.

    Get a subscription to which and check out their reviews.
    • ukmaggie45
    • By ukmaggie45 17th Mar 11, 4:38 PM
    • 2,288 Posts
    • 14,743 Thanks
    Come over and join us on the house renovation thread. Lots of good ideas and useful suggestions, join in the thrills and spills!

    We're (touch wood!) just getting to the end of our house renovation, vinyl going in tomorrow, doors as soon as they arrive, carpets in around 2 weeks I think. Kitchen is almost finished and will be commissioned next Thursday. After around 6 months I'll be glad it's over!

    So glad to hear you're not going to be there while renovation is going on. We've been in the same situation, and having seen the chaos I'm so relieved that we weren't trying to camp out in a bit of the house while part was demolished and then extended. Good luck!
    Last edited by ukmaggie45; 17-03-2011 at 4:38 PM. Reason: punctuation
    • spirit
    • By spirit 17th Mar 11, 10:32 PM
    • 2,384 Posts
    • 4,977 Thanks
    1. Take your time over it.

    2. go for non VAT registered workmen and save yourself 20%
    Mortgage free as of 10/02/2015. Every brick and blade of grass belongs to meeeee.
    • diable
    • By diable 17th Mar 11, 11:04 PM
    • 5,123 Posts
    • 3,966 Thanks
    If you like music,
    Originally posted by kabayiri
    Buy a mahoosive amp and speakers play the music loud so you can hear it cleanly in whatever room you are in......
  • rygon
    I'd say the best thing i did was check the electrics when I first bought the house. Luckily didnt have anything moved in as the wiring was pretty bad (last person was a DIY enthusiast). Managed to rewire the whole house, and add loads more sockets.

    I'd also say try and learn how to do the basic DIY tasks (changing lights, switches, tiling, bit of basic plumbing for when you get leaks etc). Saves loads on call out fees and contractors.
    Smile and be happy, things can usually get worse!
    • taker920
    • By taker920 18th Mar 11, 12:59 AM
    • 1,344 Posts
    • 644 Thanks
    • You will always need more kitchen cupboard space than you think
    • Do not spend hours trying to get a perfect stright line when painting - after two months you don't notice it anyway
    • Why oh why didn't I remove that chimney breast when the kitchen was gutted
    • Stripping back original floor boards seems like a great idea until (a) you decide to do the sanding yourself and (b) winter comes along and draughts start coming through the floor
    • There's a reason why the previous owners had textured wallpaper on the walls
    • Once you move in you can't be bothered to do anything
  • isotonic_uk
    If you like music, and want an integrated set up, I would plan out a zonal system, and run something like CAT5e to the celing locations where you may want to put these recessed speakers.

    I'm just picking up on your bullet point :-
    "I bought a cheap infra-red repeater that means that my DVD player etc can be hidden in a cupboard. Great."

    You sound like me, in that I don't want to see my music or video playing equipment, just hear it.

    Have a look at Sonos as a start point, and work from there.
    Originally posted by kabayiri
    I would second that.... For a decent budget I would seriously consider a Sonos Z5 player or similar... I have been really impressed with this product.

    I am confident if you purchased one though you would continue to add to a Sonos setup...its that good!!! no cabling to worry about

    Whilst I dont have an ipad. I have played around with the Sonos app and the control you have for your music is excellent... I personally have the android and Mac app and both are impressive and usable.
    • jc808
    • By jc808 27th Jun 11, 8:00 PM
    • 1,695 Posts
    • 1,445 Thanks
    - Get good detailed structural drawings made up
    - Go for an all in one builder/ main contractor: If the labourer !!!!s something up, not your problem. If the sparks is not happy cos the dryliner boxed in something he shouldnt have or cut cables, not your fault. etc
    - Recycle what you can - sell old metal/ piping if its worth it. If only a small amount leave it out for the gyppos. Burn wood offcuts in the back garden.
    - Dont try and recycle old sinks/ toilets/ boilers unless theyre brand new/ exc condition. More cost than buying new if its installed and leaks.
    - Get everything done in the right order: Planning/ Gutting/ Structural or building works(Includes ext windows and doors)/ Carpentry first fix/ Leccy first fix/ Gas and plumbing first fix/ Insulation and dryling or plastering/ Decorating/ Kitchen/ Leccy 2nd fix/ Plumbing second fix/ Carpentry second fix/ Fixtures and fittings and floors/ Carpentry finals/ Furnishing
    Last edited by jc808; 28-06-2011 at 9:55 AM.
    • cddc
    • By cddc 27th Jun 11, 9:31 PM
    • 912 Posts
    • 892 Thanks
    Fired Earth paint is actually top stuff. Best paint I have ever used. I used to work for them in the 90's so got it at staff discount and just repainted my living room after 15 years, not because the paint was starting to look poor but I just got bored of the colour.

    Price is stupid though. If you really want it try getting to their factory shop in Adderbury near Banbury where they sell off the dented tins cheap. This goes for anything from Fired Earth. Quality product but stupid price. You really are paying for the name.

    Good thread though, just about to have an extension built myself so keep those tips coming!
  • busy mom
    My smeg dishwasher just gone on the blink, 14 months old as well....
    • diable
    • By diable 27th Jun 11, 11:25 PM
    • 5,123 Posts
    • 3,966 Thanks
    How much is the house worth and where is it located and a £100k refurbishment in Luton goes a lot further then £100k in Hampstead which is classed as not much.

    Do you have high standards?

    Taps = Hansgrohe
    Washing Machine = Miele
    Kitchen Equipment = Siemens or Neff
    Network - Fibre
    A boiler that takes 1o seconds to heat the water is normal as there is cold water in the pipe
    For the layout of the property get someone in who can visualise the space
    Last edited by diable; 27-06-2011 at 11:31 PM.
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