A Step-by-step guide to upgrading or developing your home

A step-by-step guide to upgrading or developing your home. Power’s key piece of advice to anyone embarking on home improvements is to invest money in things that will enhance comfort levels, such as insulation and new windows, which will make your home a lot nicer place to live in while also lowering your power bills. Keep in mind, she advises, that a nice-looking kitchen, no matter how cool it is, will eventually date. And there is a cascading impact once you begin construction. If you decide to hire a contractor, consider what else it would influence. Can you complete the job in stages, or is it worth saving enough to accomplish more in the long run?

The most opulent way to renovate a house, according to Declan O’Donnell, the wise judge on RTÉ’s other famous property show, Home of the Year, who has also departed the show, is to invest in the fabric of the house and generate light and a sense of space within it.

The two professionals have detailed the most common construction questions they receive below. This, they claim, is money well spent because it improves your home’s overall comfort levels while also saving you money on your energy bills over time. After the dirty work is done, the money left over can be used for pleasures like a new kitchen, new bathroom equipment, tiling, and painting.

You can dry-line a house interior using the insulating board, but remember to budget for replastering and painting the walls, coving, and skirting afterward, according to Power.  “Insulation board is a man-made product. Sheep wool is a natural alternative to studded walls that would be sandwiched between them. It’s a touch less expensive than the synthetic options, but it won’t help you increase your BER as much. A home built more than 60 years ago is likely to have lime plaster, which necessitates a permeable solution that is three times the cost of normal insulation.

What kind of windows should I acquire if I’m on a restricted budget?

“The cost difference between double- and triple-glazing on a project is well worth the extra money spent throughout their lifetime because the degree of comfort produced with triple-glazing is significantly superior to that of double-glazing.” On north-facing walls, triple-glazing is required, and while the technique results in slightly grey-colored glazing, we live in a chilly, damp, and grey climate. The difference in terms of experience is astounding. However, don’t simply think about the glass. Take a look at the entire window. “Go for a complete replacement of the glass and frames, as both lose heat,” Power says.

Architects aren’t crazy about Upvc windows because they aren’t made of natural materials, but they are functional and can be ordered in any RAL colour for an extra fee, according to her. Another option is aluclad windows, and the inside’s timber-effect interior can be painted to match any colour scheme.

According to Power, rewiring is somewhat disruptive. “Rewire at the same time as you’re insulating inside.” You’ll need to arrange ahead of time to tell the electrician where you want all of the sockets and light points to go. There are never enough sockets. A five-amp socket in a room like the living room, master bedroom, or even a child’s room allows you to turn on table lights with a single flick of the main switch, rather than manually turning them on. It’s a simple and cost-effective approach to overlay light.

Consider security wire for windows, doors, and roof lights, as well as CCTV wiring and an external charging station for an electric vehicle.”

What should I expect if I have to replumb as well?

According to Power, plumbing is a filthy, unpleasant, and dreadful job. “If the boiler is more than ten years old, it will need to be replaced.” You might also require new radiators. It is worthwhile to read about the SEAI funds that are available. Heating controls that create zones throughout the house, as well as separate hot water and heating, are areas to invest in.”

“Depending on the number of fixtures and fittings you choose, a new bathroom can cost anywhere from €8,000 to €10,000,” adds Power. A power shower, such as one with monsoon and rainwater heads, consumes more energy and water than an electric shower. Consider new sanitaryware (smaller cisterns consume less water), tiles for flooring, showers, and sink surrounds, and taps when calculating costs.”

Do you really require a postponement?

“We’re conditioned to think about expansions,” adds O’Donnell, “but many houses are already adequately big but their arrangement has to be rethought.” “If the client enjoys cooking and the front reception area is drenched in the morning light, why not put the kitchen in one of the greatest rooms in the house rather than out back, where it lacks the same aspect?”

How much is it going to cost me?

“There are a lot of wonderful visual resources to use when thinking about renovations, but what you really need is expert guidance that can help you put numbers on what you want to do,” says O’Donnell. “An experienced architect and quantity surveyor can assist you to save money in this situation. That money should be invested in the house’s fabric first and foremost.” For new construction, expect to pay between €3,000 and €4,000 per square meter, including additions.

“In the current market, much of the housing stock being offered for sale needs upgrading, and sometimes it’s better to choose a wreck of a house with no heating over one that appears to be in good order but is already 25 to 30 years old,” Power advises, “because the latter will still need heating and electrical upgrades.” “An older house in rough shape that you haven’t paid a premium for is a better option.”

According to O’Donnell, the first step is to develop a list of everything you wish to include in the renovation. “Most clients have a misunderstanding about how much everything costs. Itemize every single detail, no matter how minor – floors, sanitaryware, kitchen units, appliances, floor, wall, and splashback tiles, windows, flooring, and every facet of lighting, right down to the light switches. Put everything into a spreadsheet and begin assigning a price to each item. By the time you’ve tallied them all up, you’ll see that you’ll have to make some concessions in order to complete the task within the budget you’ve set.”

According to O’Donnell, the best money you can spend is on a good architect. “He or she will produce correct documentation and drawings for the design and planning stages, create detailed tender documents so that every issue is examined, and by doing so, you generate a sort of shopping list for the builder.” These documents will subsequently be used to create your contract. You won’t be able to have it priced if it isn’t on the tender document.

Architect fees typically range from 10% to 14% of the total construction expenditures. Some companies provide a package service in which they do a survey and create plans for you, as well as provide you with a list of reliable suppliers and contractors to carry out the job.”

While professionals such as architects and quantity surveyors can advise you on building materials, O’Donnell advises that you, the client, have an overall financial picture of how much money you have to spend. “To acquire that, you have to know how much everything is going to cost.” Do you prefer to spend €5,000 on a kitchen or €50,000 on one?  When your flooring budget is €90 per square meter and you desire a gorgeous parquet at €300 per square meter, the costs spiral.

According to O’Donnell, making adjustments after services have been deployed will cost money. A supposedly minor task may not be as minor as you believe. Even a little kitchen expansion will necessitate foundations, wiring, plumbing, structural steelwork, physical units, excellent counters, flooring, lighting, sliding doors to the garden, a new bathroom under the stairs, a roof, and roof finishes, and perhaps a new garden to gaze out over.

Is it truly as horrible as everyone claims?

According to O’Donnell, it’s quite stressful. “Do not place yourself in a financial situation where you are unable to make ends meet. Keep around €8,000 aside as a contingency till the project gets off the ground.”

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