Home Refurbishments & All You Need To Know

Home refurbishments come in different shapes and flavours. There won’t be anyone size fits all guide to tell you exactly how much a home refurbishment will cost you. There are so many variables that come into play that you will need to be honest with yourself and be prepared to take everything into account. After all, a home refurbishment project is not something that will be easy to plan and you’re going to constantly adjust it as you go along. 

Regardless of the type of house, you are going to refurbish, you will need a rough idea of how much money you are going to need. Some houses will cost more, some less. Is it a 3-bedroom house or a period property that needs to be brought back to its original historical state? Be aware that period buildings will require extra preparation, such as staying compliant with all the building regulations, special materials needed, specialists to ensure the work is done accordingly which brings the total costs higher with 30-50% more than normal homes. 

It’s time to learn how to set realistic expectations,  prepare for all the different costs that you’ll need to cover, plan ahead and deal with unexpected issues that might interfere with your home refurbishment project. 

house

Preliminary costs

Insurance is something that you should consider. In most cases, it should cover public liability which means that if in the process of building, something gets broken, the price for new materials will be covered. The average you’re expecting to pay is between £600 and £1,200, depending on the size of the property.
In the case of period houses, the building regulations you’re expected to pay could be as little as £80, but be prepared to pay more if the building requires more verifications. Specialist contractors will be able to help you make an exact estimation of these costs.

Have you got Permitted development rights?

You might know already that planning permission is a big thing. When you are doing repairs on listed properties, houses that are in conservation areas or any other work that is outside your permitted development rights, you will need to apply for planning permission.
The average price for applying for planning permission is around £206 and to avoid any delays in your renovation project, make sure you check with the local authority. They offer pre-application advice that you’ll have to pay for as well.
Have you checked if your work is affected by the Party Wall Act? A solicitor might also be a good idea to have with you as they will help you with all the title deeds or leases.

Hiring an Architect (optional)

If your house is a period one or simply a large property, hiring professional help will save you a lot of money and trouble. It might not always be necessary if the refurbishments you want to perform are minimal and the design of the house remains pretty much the same, but if you’re thinking of changing the layout, distribution of the rooms, extending areas, an architect will be able to offer the right solutions to having a practical home. They will support you with all the planning permission questions you might have as well as the process, create new designs according to your specifications, and how much money you will need to finalise it. They will also be able to work out a timetable with you including all the time frames and logical order your entire refurbishment plan will have to unravel.

Architect discussing plans for a house refurbishment project

The outside of your house

It’s time to give your house a new facelift. The initial step towards renovating your new house is to take care of all the external elements to it. There are going to be a lot of changes that will need to be done and regardless of which state the house lies in, you will need to be thinking of the following:

  •  Getting new front windows.

Most home refurbishment projects are lucky enough to avoid the complete refurbishment of windows but there are special cases where you need to get them replaced. Are they single-glazed? Go with a practical upgrade and change them with double-glazed windows, and that will help with the levels of heat inside of your house and the sound transfer. Make sure to also draught-proof your windows and your doors to further enhance the process of stoping heat loss. Depending on the windows’ style, this will cost you anywhere between £2,000- £5,000. 

  • Replacing or Repairing the roof

With time, roofs will get damaged and it’s the first thing you should always have covered. This will save you a lot of money in the long run and will prevent any extensive damage to happen further. The giveaway signs a roof is damaged are usually the missing roof tiles and damp areas on the ceiling inside the house. Inspect if the roof timbers have been damaged as well- you will need to replace those if they have been affected by rot, woodworms, or damp. You will find most issues with the root timber in poorly ventilated rooms.  

  • New cladding

The new cladding has the power to give your front house a stunning uplift. With choices such as timber boarding or render, the entire atmosphere of the house will depend on your choice. 

The inside of the house

This will be a variable that will be constantly changing depending on your own preferences and what changes you wish to implement in the house. 

Insulation

The primary thing you’ll want to do is taking care of the insulation of your house. This will be a decisive factor in making your house warmer while preventing any energy and heat loss. There are different ways and types of insulation but it’s not too expensive to implement and can be easily done by you as well. 

The area that should receive the most focus is the loft, which is where the entire heat coming from the house is mostly lost. Next, you will want to insulate the floor and the walls. To further combat the heat loss, you’ll need to take care of insulating your hot water tank too. 

Damp 

If the property is quite old, you will inevitably deal with signs of damp and you’ll want to deal with them first thing. Damp can be a prevalent thing in recent buildings as well so you’ll want to inspect the alarming signs that could have caused it. Check if the old property had any painting was done with modern impermeable products if the suspended timber floors have been replaced with concrete or the ventilation has been removed or covered, leaking gutters, condensation caused by double-glazing, cracks in pointing, vegetation that is close to the brickwork. Those are usually warning signs that mean the house is suffering from a damp issue.  You will want to get an expert RICS surveyor to investigate the type of damp and they will be able to give you the best solution to combat it.

Plumbing and Wiring systems

You can be lucky enough to find that the previous electric and heating systems don’t have any underlying issues and they comply with the standards, in which case your money will only to replacing the radiators. The reason why it is advised to get them replaced is due to the tendency of old radiators to suffer from cold spots, which are often caused by the excessive build-up of sludge. The other alternative, if you prefer a more modern approach, is to have underfloor heating which is a more effective method of heating your house. 

However, if you need to replace the rewiring and the plumbing systems, you will have the benefit of having a tailored system that is closer to your usual levels of consumption. The property’s value is also going to be higher if you choose to update those two systems. 

Performing a complete rewire job is best suited when there is no furniture in the rooms as everything will be turned upside down. A lot of dust will be involved as the walls of your house will need to be chased and replastered. As you can imagine this task involved meticulous work with hiding those electric cables while minimising any damage and it will include a specialist to take care of the plastering. During this stage, if you want more power sockets installed, you will need to discuss with the electrician and agree on the course of action. 

Central heating, on the other hand, is something that you will definitely want even if the warm summer days would tell you not to. In approaching this step, make sure that you get a quote from different plumbers. They will need to survey the house and look for any signs that might interfere with the installation process. Once the heating system is neatly installed in your house, you will want an inspector from the Building Control to sign off the job and mark everything as safe. New gas boilers will have to be installed by Gas Safe Registered heating engineers so make sure that the plumber you decide to go with has this credential. 

Taking down walls

You might be required to have some new structural arrangements if the house used to be a period one. It was quite often to have lots of small rooms in a period house, and in a modern-day living scenario, that wouldn’t work that well. An architect can help you will decide on the best course of action. You might want to extend some rooms, known down walls to enlarge the hallways, have a basement, garage or loft conversion. 

Loft conversion

Loft conversion is becoming so popular now. Most homeowners like to have a special little room that can end up looking very artsy and cosy. It’s often one of the least demanding tasks when doing a house refurbishment and you can easily incorporate this into your costs. What you really need is additional flooring, insulation materials, roof lights and a set of stairs. 

after picture of a loft conversion

Plastering

Once you are done with all the first fixings, such as installing the ventilation ducts, wiring and plumbing, plastering your walls is next in line. You should be prepared for lots of dust as you will need to apply dry-lining to ceilings. New floor screeds for the ground floor are also going to be installed in this process after the plastering job has been finished to avoid creating a bigger mess. 

Flooring

Any flooring job will be done after the plastering and screeding have dried out and depending on the season, it will take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. The reason why it needs such a long time is that the longer you leave it to dry out, the higher the chances of avoiding any moisture interfering with joinery and wooden floors. If you want it all done in as little time as possible, it’s recommended you go for drylining instead of hard plaster.

Second fixes & finishes

The second fixes usually involve smaller tasks that you need to take care to ensure the last finishes are in place and the house is close to complete in terms of structural security. This step usually involves:

-Fitting the kitchen and installing any other fitted furniture;

-Having the bathroom installed and connecting the taps.

All you’ve got to do now is to take care of adding your own personality to your house: bring in the furniture, add all the accessories and decorations you want to and you’re ready to move in. Undoubtedly, planning a house refurbishment project is a stressing and complex thing to do but the final outcome is rewarding and you’ll be proud of all the hard work that went into your new house.