Posts filed under ‘DIY’

Bank Holiday DIY plans suffer amid lack of skills among younger generation

Bank Holidays are traditionally a time to get out the hammer and nails to address some of those DIY projects that have been put on the back burner. But homeowners are being urged to take care as the number of accidental claims hits 30,000, with each claim costing £339, according to new research.

19.08.14 DIY

DIY skills are particularly low among the younger generation, according to the survey by insurers Halifax. It suggested more than half of over 55 year olds are confident they can put up wallpaper, while only 28 per cent of 18 to 24 year olds feel confident about doing so.

At the same time, more than eight out of 10 older people said they can paint, while just over six out of 10 under 24 year olds feel able to use a decorating brush.

Martyn Foulds, senior claims manager at Halifax, said: “It seems that DIY skills are fading with each generation, which is a worry as home improvements can easily go wrong for those who don’t know what they are doing.

“We’d recommend homeowners check they have the right tools for the job, avoid taking on too much and call a qualified tradesman for gas and electrical work.”

Last year, Halifax recorded more than 32,000 accidental damage claims, while more than £1m was paid out in such claims in August alone. In total, the insurer paid out more than £11m for such claims last year, with each costing an average of £339.

The survey suggests almost a quarter of people asked their parents for help with home improvement jobs.

Top DIY tips from Halifax:

  • Preparation is key – make sure you have all the correct tools and equipment for the job before you start to avoid coming unstuck later
  • Plan a budget beforehand and stick to it
  • Call a professional for jobs involving gas, electrical or plumbing work. When choosing a tradesman, ask for references and certificates to demonstrate that they are competent
  • Contact your insurer if any work is being carried out which may alter the structure or layout of the home such as an  extension or garage, etc
  • For major building works, you may need to seek planning permission

August 19, 2014 at 2:32 PM 2 comments

Which home improvement can add almost £55,000 to the value of your home?

Adding an extra bedroom is the best way to increase the value of your home, but carrying out the wrong ‘improvements’ could make your property worth less, research showed today.

03.04.14 New build

The buoyant housing market has boosted people’s confidence in property, with 42 per cent planning to carry out home improvements in the next six months in the hope of making their home worth more, according to Zoopla.

But while adding an extension or carrying out a loft conversion could boost the value of your home by up to a fifth, bodged DIY jobs could knock thousands off its value.

The home improvement that will have most impact on a property’s value is adding an extra double bedroom and bathroom through carrying out a loft conversion, according to Nationwide.

The group estimates that this improvement could add 21 per cent to the value of a typical home.

With the average home in England currently worth £259,745, a loft conversion could boost a property’s price by around £54,500.

Next on the list is adding an extra bedroom through building an extension, with this boosting the typical home’s price by 11 per cent or £28,600.

Putting in an extra bathroom typically adds 5 per cent or £13,000 to a property’s value, as does increasing the floor space by 10 per cent.

Robert Gardner Chief EconomistRobert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “Having more usable space is generally thought to be consistent with better quality accommodation and people are prepared to pay for it.

“Home improvements that increase floor area, such as an extension or loft conversion, remain a good way to add value.”

But the impact of adding an extra bedroom varies according to property type.

Nationwide estimates that turning a two-bedroom semi-detached property into a three-bedroom one will boost its value by 12 per cent, but adding an extra bedroom to a three bedroom detached home will only increase its value by around 9 per cent.

Nationwide thinks home improvements that increase a property’s energy efficiency will also have a growing impact on prices.

It points out that the number of homes that have an energy efficiency rating of A to D, the top four scores, has increased from 20 per cent to 65 per cent since 1996.

Gardner says, “With fuel costs continuing to rise and an increased emphasis on environmental sustainability, we expect households to become increasingly conscious about their energy use.”

Other improvements, such as interior design, a landscaped garden or a fitted kitchen can also boost the value of a property, but Gardner warned that these improvements were subjective and difficult to quantify.

He said: “While one designer’s makeover will add value for some buyers, the same design may detract from the price for others.

“Improvements finished to a higher standard will be more attractive than bodged jobs, but there is a trade off between the cost spent on refurbishment and the price someone else is prepared to pay for it.”

April 25, 2014 at 11:23 AM Leave a comment

Here’s how some Londoners are getting onto or up the property ladder

The sharp rise in property prices in London during the past year means many buyers are seeking alternative ways of getting on – or moving up – the property ladder.

27.01.14 Renovation 1

One bedroom flat in Balham for £450,000, with potential to extend to the side return at the rear of the property

One option is to buy a property in need of updating, taking a property that is below market value and modernizing or extending as and when your budget allows.

Estate agents say it can be a workable option, but suggest starting with something small and manageable.

It comes as the average value of a home in the capital rises to more than £510,000, up more than £35,000 during the past year.

Far from being overlooked, renovation projects in Balham are attracting up to 50 prospective purchases per property, according to estate agents Hamptons International. And they certainly don’t need to be a wreak as they may be attractive due to their potential to be extended instead.

Sophie Norris, of the Balham branch of Hamptons International, said: “Properties in need of renovation in Balham are extremely popular and can often attract more attention than properties which are ready to move into.

“Previously, interest in properties in need of renovation would be predominantly from developers or amateur property developers, but with demand in the area outstripping supply more and more, buyers are choosing to take on a project in order to secure their dream home.

“However, premium prices are consistently being paid for renovation projects, which leave minimal room for short term profit and therefore push developers out of the equation,” she added.

Projects under the £1m mark are the most popular as buyers are keen to save on Stamp Duty.

In London, there are more than 9,250 properties valued at between £500,001 and £1m, the bracket where buyers are required to pay 4 per cent in Stamp Duty. It compares with Stamp Duty of 5 per cent for properties values at between £1m and £2m.

Properties for sale in London requiring updating: 

1. Three bedroom semi-detached house in Merton Park, SW19, for £850,000

27.01.14 Renovation 2

2. Three bedroom semi-detached house in Feltham, TW13, for £250,000

27.01.14 Renovation 4

3. Three bedroom semi-detached house in Tooting, SW17, for £550,000

27.01.14 Renovation 3

January 27, 2014 at 2:58 PM Leave a comment

DIY help: Celebrity builder Tommy Walsh on how to lay a hardwood floor

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

Celebrity builder Tommy Walsh is sharing his DIY tips and hints exclusively with

This week he shares his tips for laying a hardwood floor.

1. Measure the floor space accurately before purchase, and allow 10% extra for mistakes or accidental damage.

2. Try to avoid overlaying existing floors. If you do lay over existing flooring, either remove the skirting or cut a slot for the new flooring to fit under, while the skirting’s still in position. Always allow a gap all around the room of 10-15mm between flooring and wall to allow for expansion and contraction. The skirting will cover the gap.

3. Ensure whatever you’re fixing the new flooring to is flat and level (whether it is floor joists, old flooring , or plywood sub-floor).  Flooring should be fixed secretly through the tongue using a  porta-nailor (which you can hire).  This allows you to fix the floor securely without the fixings being visible.

4. Open three or four packs of flooring at a time and select boards randomly from them in case there are any slight variations, this way you won’t see them in the finished floor.

5. Floor nails are specially designed for the job, and come in three main sizes: 1 ½“ ; 1 ¾” and 2”.  Nail size is generally not a problem when fixing to joists, but when fixing to an overlaid floor, or fixing to plywood, pipework in the floor void may be compromised.  Always check the fixing nails won’t pierce the sub –floor beforehand.

6. Noise pollution from hardwood floors can be a major issue for your property neighbours if you live in a non-purpose built flat, particularly in Victorian-style conversions.  In these cases, you may have to invest heavily in sound proofing the floor, and create a floating floor which is glued together onto a sound proof underlay membrane.  Seek expert advice.

7. If renewing suspended ground floor flooring to make the ground floor warm, install blown polyurethane insulation cut between the joists supported on roofing battens, fixed to the sides of the joists, allowing air circulation to continue uninterrupted underneath. Also, never block the air vents to avoid draughts.  It could have disastrous consequences for the floor, with rot and infestation if the natural air flow is interrupted.

8.  I would recommend using wide engineered pre-finished flooring to fulfil your dreams, and also do a bit for the environment!

*To see more DIY tips, products and deals visit Trades Supermarket.


October 13, 2011 at 11:42 AM 1 comment

Safe DIY during Winter months

This is a legacy post from the blog which is now maintained as an archive within the Zoopla blog. Links have been preserved.

With the bank holiday fast-approaching the thought of that daring DIY project (which you’ve been putting off the entire year, no doubt) has probably crossed your mind. But before you get stuck in at home with the hammer and ladder, you’d be best advised to take a moment to think through the planning, products and precautions of your DIY project.

Do as I say, not as I do and stay safe this bank holiday if you spend it up a ladder

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (it’s a real charity, we checked) estimates that more than 200,000 people a year end up in hospital as a result of DIY and gardening injuries, so it goes without saying that you don’t want to be one of them. The secret, according to workplace product supplier Singsby, is to take home health and safety as seriously as work health and safety.

Tips to keep you safe this bank holiday:

• Plan ahead – this is one of the most important points in DIY; check you have the necessary tools and equipment and – obvious as it may seem, you’ll know what you’re doing before you start.

• Buying products – generally a more expensive product will nearly always last longer than a cheaper one. You’ll get what you pay for.

• Read instructions and warnings – there’s a reason why they come with the tools and equipment so make sure you thoroughly understand what they’re saying especially if you’re using them for the first time.

• Time it – things usually take longer than you expect so make sure you have enough time to finish the job. Bear in mind that only doing half a job will look worse than not doing it at all.

• Ladders – these are a major cause for accidents so replace old rickety ones. Also make sure the feet of the ladder are on a secure and level surface, rest the top on something solid and position the foot of the ladder one measure out for every four measures in height. Finally move the ladder rather than over-reach.

• Drilling holes – double-check there are no pipes or cables nearby.

• Tidy up – put tools away as you go along this will give you a safe area to work in and you’ll be able to find things easier – plus less cleaning to do at the end.

• Nails – those which are sticking out of wood are common dangers so always remove them straight away.

August 24, 2011 at 1:02 PM Leave a comment

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