With the winter nearly upon us, some of you may be dreading another cold spell. Freezing weather in an old, draughty house can be unpleasant. It can even be detrimental to your health. If you’ve decided this year is the last for being cold, then now is the time to start your modernisation project. And there’s lots of work to be done.
Houses that date back to the fifties rarely had any central heating system installed at the time of building. Mains gas supplies were more common after the mid-sixties. If you go back even further in time, you’ll find that the lav was out in the garden in a shed! Most homes have been updated many times in the last few decades, but there will always be one or two that have missed out.
A modern home will have an energy efficient heating system, and the latest spec double glazed windows. But these two on their own aren’t enough to ensure you stay warm in the winter. You also need to have the latest insulation. This includes thick loft insulation and special insulation in the walls. New build homes have all these essentials already installed, but you can ask a specialist to check your cavities for the right spec.
Much has changed over the decades. If your home is in need of an update, then you can get started straight away with a few checks. Check the state of your roof outside. Most roof types are only good for thirty years. If your tiles and slates are in good shape, chances are they will see you through the winter months. If they’re not, don’t risk leaving it for another season. Water damage and even collapse could be devastating to your home and family.
Inside the loft space, check any water pipes are clad, and that there is insulation throughout. Check there are no small holes in the beams. This could be a sign of woodworm and must be treated immediately. Also, make sure any water tanks are intact and clean. Your loft hatch can also be insulated, and draught excluding foam can be placed around the opening.
Are your electrics on a modern circuit? We use a lot more power than we used to so it’s worth rewiring an old home. A qualified electrician will need to do the works. Trip switches are ideal for modern demands too. They save you having to find fuses in the dark. They are also used to isolate heavy loads like those in the kitchen.
To start work internally, it may be best to clear out your belongings for the duration of the works. Things can get dusty and dirty. Many people are wary of workmen around their treasured possessions too. Check out your local storage centre for unit rates. You can then pack up and move out until the works are finished.
Over the years, lots of cracks and chips appear in the internal walls. If you are replacing your windows, this part of the room will need redecorating anyway. Why not hire a plasterer to smooth all the walls? Artexed bumpy ceilings can be smoothed away too, creating a fresh, modern look. Once it has dried and settled you can paint it in contemporary colours.
Older houses don’t have the plumbing we need for modern living. A good kitchen and utility area provides plumbing and space for a washing machine, dishwasher and tumble dryer. You may have a double sink and a third utility sink. The plumbing for all this will need to be installed by professionals. It may need to pass building regulations too. But it’s worth the extra effort. After all, a modern kitchen can increase the value of your home.
When it comes to installing modern units in your kitchen, you may find a few problem areas. Leaky pipes need to be checked and sealed. This is something you can do yourself if necessary. Some light fittings that run from the wall sockets can also be installed on a DIY basis if you like. Finish the job with a good sealant to prevent splashes ruining all your good work.
The central heating system is a big job to undertake. These days, regulations require a registered plumber to complete the installation. Are remodelling and replastering? It could be worth considering concealing the pipework behind the plasterboard. You may lose a couple of inches of room space, but it leaves a cleaner look.
There are a few £1 houses on the market at the moment. These are empty shells. They often are Victorian in age and construction. A £1 house is unlikely to be habitable at the time of purchase. Instead, you will need to install plumbing, gas, water and electrical services. You will also need to pay to have telephone and broadband services installed. Some of these properties have no floors either. They are a huge commitment to take on.
If you have a property that is in need of modernisation, it’s best to get several quotes for the works needed. It is usually beyond a DIY job, although there will be plenty of work for you to take on too. Updating kitchen cabinets, decorating and replacing interior woodwork are all part of the project.
Modernising your home can be a huge undertaking. But it’s always worth it to enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle. It can also greatly increase the value of your home. If your home currently has period features, it is worth preserving and restoring them. They make an attractive addition to your home that is desirable to a potential buyer. Most importantly, enjoy the process of making your house, a beautiful and comfortable home.