THINK carefully before diving into a DIY project or else your dream home renovation could turn into a nightmare.
According to Ratedpeople.com, nearly half of UK homeowners made improvements to their property last year.
But without the right know-how, your renovation can unnecessarily cost thousands of euros more.
Property expert Sam Piplica, senior building standards specialist at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, shares his tips on avoiding the most common home transformation pitfalls.
Most people don’t know that converting your loft into an extra room has consequences for your entire house.
So before you call in the builders, make sure your budget is big enough to meet the additional fire safety regulations that come with it.
If you decide to add an extra floor to your home that is higher than 4.5 meters from the ground, you must have a fireproof staircase.
This is true for homeowners who are adding an extra floor above their first floor.
All doors and frames that open onto the stairwell must be replaced with 30-minute fire-resistant doors and frames.
The specialized door sets remain fire resistant for 30 minutes and keep your stairs down from the attic and first floor safe as an escape route.
Cutting corners by installing new doors into old frames is a risky no no.
Sam said: “Adding an extra floor to your property means you can’t jump out of the building safely without risking serious injury. That’s why building codes exist to protect people.”
If you are adding a loft extension, you will need a building code completion certificate when the work is done. If you don’t have a secure staircase, you won’t get one.
Without this certificate it will be difficult to sell your house.
If you feel like sprucing up your driveway, landscaping your backyard, or following last summer’s craze for outdoor kitchens, be careful not to raise the external ground level around your home.
Doing so will cancel the effects of your damp proofing course that could ruin your home decor.
A moisture barrier is located in the walls of your property and must be at least 150 mm above the ground outside.
It stops the moisture from the earth rising against the walls. If you don’t know what it looks like, the appearance may differ depending on the age of your property.
In older properties it is generally made of slate or bitumen, a tar-like substance, or plastic in newer properties.
If your outdoor renovation project raises the outdoor ground level, rainwater can splash back against the wall above the waterproofing cladding, rendering it ineffective.
When getting quotes for a new driveway, make sure the quote covers part of the ground and doesn’t simply pay over the top, which would cause the ground level to rise.
It’s fine to have a small area of the patio close to the walls around the doorways, for example.
But the rest of your patio should be built further from the house, about 200mm from the walls of the house.
Sam added: “If you are removing soft, green landscaping, such as grass with a hard surface like pavement, consider drainage.
“In some parts of the country, such as London, planning permission is required to build a driveway and there are different rules for paving in your front yard than elsewhere in your home.”
Historic buildings have a lot of charm, but there is often a catch. Before proceeding with any changes, find out if you need approval from your local historic preservation officer.
The cost will likely depend on the work you do, so it’s best to check with your local government in advance.
You must obtain a monument permit for any renovation that affects the character of a monument.
You may also need to use specialist materials for your home improvements.
“I cannot emphasize enough the need to understand the building,” said Sam.
“Your project can end up costing you more if you don’t use the right materials for the building. Modern building materials don’t always work with older homes.
Whether you’re adding a porch or changing your windows, something as simple as using cement mortar over lime mortar can negatively affect the way water moves through the bricks. This can eventually cause more problems in your home.”
Sam recommends hiring a professional who has previous experience with your type of property and working closely with the city’s listed officer.
Converting your garage into a livable room is a great way to add space to your home.
But be careful not to create a flood risk. If your driveway slopes toward your home, rainwater will run from your garage room to your property without adequate drains for the wall.
You need to install a so-called linear drainage system; a long thin metal drain recessed into the pavement running the length of the wall.
Failure to do so can cost thousands of pounds of damage to your doors, floors and furniture if rainwater gets in.
Speaking of renovations, one person revealed how they turned an RV into a Barbie paradise.
Another nifty Andy redecorated his entire town hall in just a week, and this DIY expert has 10 budget hacks to keep your house looking super-expensive.
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