Previous month:
November 2010
Next month:
January 2011

December 2010

Is your home improvement adding money?

Eighty per cent of UK residents think that renovating or improving a home is better than selling in the current environment 

Reasons

  • New families may want to create extra space it they cannot afford to move to a bigger property
  • Others may simply want to make the best of their home while they are unable to move up the ladder
  • Some homeowners may be planning to boost their property's value before an eventual sale

Be careful with the last reason

Some renovations are just money down the drain

Trying to add value with a renovation project needs careful consideration as it is easy to spend more on renovations than any gain in house price you may make.

Before increasing your borrowing to fund renovation plans you should decide whether your main aim is to add value to the property that you hope one day to recoup, or whether you simply want to improve your living space.
If your aim to make a profit over time, you need to do your research on the types of renovations that add the most value for the least outlay.

  • Loft conversions and extensions can add up to 20 per cent in value. However, they can cost anything from £ 13,000 to £ 37,000, which means you might not make a profit when you sell.
  • A new kitchen will typically cost about £ 20,000 but the value that it is likely to add varies between 5 and 20 percent.

(source Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Building Cost Information Service - BCIS / estate agent Savills)

Do not expect to get your money back immediately, as much will depend on wider house price trends. If you are looking on renovations as an investment, aim for a quality finish, but do not get carried away or you will wipe out any potential return:

If you have a really dowdy kitchen, replacing it can make a big difference, but upgrading your kitchen when it is already good-quality is unlikely to make much of a difference to the property's value.

Simple changes, biggest impact - but...

Cheap cosmetic changes, such as redecorating, often give the biggest value boost relative to expense, typical costing about £ 1,500 but with the potential to increase a property's value by up to 12% (see also Abbey National's - nowadays Santander - survey results).

Dodgy DIY can decrease the value of your home

DIY-renovations may seem to make money-saving sense, but if the finish is not up to scratch, you can damage your property's appeal.

A recent survey of estate agents by the insurer LV= found that poorly executed DIY could lower a property's value by up to 5% and invalidate home insurance.

Use the professionals when in doubt

6a00d8341c660f53ef0147e0f65862970b-pi

Using professionals as part of a home improvement project may well be a good idea, the findings of a new study suggest.

Santander Insurance found that, with families looking for ways to cut costs in the current economic climate, 72 per cent of people planning to undertake home improvement work intend to do it themselves. It quizzed respondents about their capabilities and 37 per cent said they were confident they could fit floor tiles, while 13 per cent even said they were happy to tackle bricklaying or concreting.

However, the insurer estimated that DIY mishaps cause more than £330 million worth of damage a year in the UK.

Santander Insurance UK's chief executive Miguel Sard said he understood why homeowners wanted to save money, but urged them to consider their limitations before embarking on any renovation work.

"When it comes to the electrics of the house or major construction work, it is just not worth taking the risks. Get it done professionally," he added.

Homeowners looking to install new floors may find that a flooring contractor is the best option for them. As well as fitting the new flooring, a good contractor will also provide advice on the best surfaces for the space.

Changing trends?

Renovate with your own taste in mind, you'll get the best results

Various interior designers predict a change in trends, not as in look and colour, but in reasons for renovating/redecorating:
Renovate properties 'to express your taste'

Giving a home a new look should be about expressing yourself and showing off your taste, according to one expert.

Writing for Mercury News, interiors author Marni Jameson explained that while in the past people have decorated their homes in a bid to attract potential buyers, now the time has come for homeowners to indulge themselves.
She explained that since many homeowners do not have a choice at present about whether or not they will move house, Ms Jameson said that they may as well make their home improvements for themselves alone.

Recently, Anna-Marie DeSouza, editor at Build It, suggested that many homeowners will be buying big items in the coming days to beat the tax increase on January 4th 2011.

And Phil Spencer (Location, Location, Location) advises homeowners to consider fitting wood floors.
According to the television program host, installing wood floors can be a good way to make a home more attractive to property buyers. Wood floors are a particularly good choice for families, as they are easier to clean than other flooring materials.

However, the property expert advised homeowners to carry out work now rather than waiting until just before they are ready to sell up and move on.

"There is no point improving your home just before you sell. You might as well do the work straightaway if you can and get the benefit out of it yourself."

Wood floors can be a popular choice for homeowners looking to add a defining feature to a room, as they are capable of adding character and warmth to any space.

Herringbone patterns are set to become the next big thing in wooden flooring fashions.

According to the designer Wendy Cole, wood floors are set to remain one of the most popular options for people redesigning their homes.

However, the huge choice of products and finishes now available means that wood flooring trends are bound to change from time to time. Ms Cole said new fashions are already developing and explained:

"From a design standpoint, large herringbone patterns are replacing boards."
However, anyone who does not like the herringbone look need not worry about getting left behind, as some styles of wood floors are timeless.
"Linear strip wood remains a stalwart, as it gives the illusion of a larger, more open space," Ms Cole added.

DIY expert Bridget Bodoano recently told the Guardian there are several affordable engineered wood flooring products available which could be suitable for people who want to install a herringbone-patterned floor in their home.

Wood - what's not to like?

Natural Wooden Flooring, Oak Rustic brushed and oiled wood-engineered flooring

When choosing for Natural Wooden Flooring you will start to enjoy the many benefits this floor covering gives you from day one on:

  • easy day-to-day care and maintenance with the knowledge that a clean wooden floor is really clean and doesn’t hide house dust mites etc
  • a ‘solid’ investment that keeps its value over years to come and is a quality feature to promote when the time might come you start thinking of selling your home
  • one of the most anti-allergic floor coverings you can have, a real benefit for Asthma, allergy and even eczema sufferers
  • eco-friendly, for every tree used in wooden flooring from sustained forests new trees are planted and trees are nature's way of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and producing the oxygen we breathe.

Having natural wooden flooring installed creates not only beauty, durability and an upgrade in the value of your property; it is also means you have a floor covering that is hygienic, anti-allergic and only needs the minimum of easy maintenance.

Selecting the perfect natural wooden floor for your own home from all the different floor-types, wood-species and finishes available can be a daunting task. Some suppliers are more than willing to send you small samples, but these will never be able to show the full and varied character natural wooden flooring has.

You could of course traverse to a selection of retailers to see what's on "show" in their showroom and try to remember which floor from which store you and/or your partner liked best.

But there is another, easier way!............................. "Sample" in the comfort of your own home


Which floorboard thickness to select: when and why

With so many different floor types to chose from, we know it can sometimes be rather a challenge to know which one to go for and which ones to avoid.
We can't select your ultimate look of the floor, grades and finishes are down to personal taste after all, but we can give you a guideline in determining what floorboard thickness you can get away with to create the right ambiance in your home without going "over board".

Traffic and levelness

Two main considerations to keep in mind when deciding between the main 3 floorboard thickness now commonly available in the market: expected traffic over the floor and the levelness you have under the floor. A third consideration is Underfloor Heating (UFH)

13/3 boards (13mm total with 3mm Solid top layer)

Traffic: light to normal
Think:
bedroom, study, tv-room
homes without small children or big pets
homes with "semi-retired" owners

Levelness: flat to very gentle slope
10mm thick boards will flex (bounce) when the underfloor suddenly dips.

UFH
: no

15/4 boards (15mm total with 4mm Solid top layer)

Traffic: normal to heavy
Think:
hallways
normal household
small offices, specialised small retailers/shops (5 - 6 visitors a day), reception areas

Levelness: flat to slightly uneven
15mm can take on more unevenness without flexing, slopes should not be more than 3mm per meter and in one direction

UFH: yes on concrete or level plywood floor using flexible adhesive to fully bond the floor - no on battens

20/6 boards (20mm total with 6mm Solid top layer)

Traffic: heavy to intense
Think:
busy households
large and busy offices, shops and other commercial premises with many visitors/shoppers a day
village & school halls
gyms and dance schools

Levelness: slightly uneven to directly onto joist
20mm is load bearing and - depending on the backing used - boards are very rigid

UFH: definitely yes

Price Range: £ 55.00 - 76.00 ex VAT per sq m

Examples of choice - same grade, same finish

Floorboards 10mm thick, Oak Rustic, oiled natural

13/3 Rustic Oak, oiled natural

Floorboards 15mm thick, Oak Rustic, oiled natural

15/4 Rustic Oak, oiled natural

Floorboards 20mm thick, Oak Rustic, oiled natural

20/6 Rustic Oak, oiled natural

Floorboards 10mm thick, Oak Nature, oiled natural

13/4 Oak Character, oiled natural

Floorboards 15mm thick, Oak Nature, oiled natural

15/4 Oak Character, oiled natural

Floorboards 20mm thick, Oak Nature, oiled natural

20/6 Oak Character, oiled natural

See more options

You can see many of the options in our online shop