February 28, 2020
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home improvement

Electrics and plumbing are two aspects of home maintenance or renovation that should definitely be left to the professionals, as any glitch – no matter how minor – can prove costly; also, there are regulations for both that need to be adhered to. Yet doing certain things yourself does give you the chance to pay more attention to detail than a contractor might. But only attempt the DIY route if you feel confident that you know what you are doing – especially when it involves a certain amount of expertise.

How should you plan the renovation budget and what room should take priority?

It’s better to plan the upcoming renovation schedule taking into consideration your available finances and time; this will be helpful for choosing the desired scope of the project – whether to do just the interior in the bathroom, buy a new loft mattress  for your bedroom or renew the kitchen up to the tiniest detail. But even if you can’t afford it, consider the entire home in the planning phase. By consistently focusing on the big picture (and a global budget estimate), you’ll be less likely to overcapitalize even when doing project by project over years. Bathrooms and kitchens are a great place to start, as they will add the most value early on.

How does one go about extending a room?

When adding major extensions onto your home, consider both structural and aesthetic implications. Plans will need to be drawn up and passed by your local council and foundations will need to be cast – so it’s a good idea to have these inspected by an engineer in order to prevent problems arising between the existing structure and the new one. Equally important is how the new roof will be structured in accordance with the existing one – you don’t want to sit with leaking junction points.

Extensions to your home will undoubtedly change its overall appearance so if you’re unsure as to what it will look like, call in an architect to ensure that the new additions will not detract from, but rather add, both curb appeal and that much-needed extra space. Is it expensive to install extra windows and doors? By all means, install extra windows or large doors if you’re renovating or building from scratch because it doesn’t cost much more than bricks would. Also, don’t be afraid to break through windows or doors afterward – it doesn’t take much effort – if the construction allows this; the biggest nuisance is the dust involved.

When is it safe to remove interior walls?

First-time homeowners are usually extremely eager to make a space their own. This often includes doing things that they have not been able to do whilst renting – such as bash down walls! As tempting as this is, it is wise to live in a space for a while before undertaking such radical steps – you may need to leave a column (for structural as well as aesthetic reasons) or you could consider playing with floor levels if you have higher ceilings. The only way to be absolutely sure whether a wall is loadbearing or not is to investigate along its entire length. That said, it’s best to call in a contractor to give you a free inspection as to whether the wall is loadbearing or not. Note that any electrical points would need to be professionally removed.

What is the easiest way to add walls to an interior space?

Dry walls are an affordable and easy way to build internal walls. Large rooms can certainly be divided but be careful not to create spaces that are too small when you have a nicely proportioned room to start with. Attic spaces can be surprisingly large and conducive to the division but do call in an expert for advice or to restructure the roof frames.

Do you have any general tips on kitchen renovations?

Revamping an outdated kitchen certainly adds value to both your home and your lifestyle – but it’s important that you get the layout and design right, as it will have to last for about a decade or so. Avoid a specific theme if you’re not confident that you can ‘pull it off’. If in doubt, stick to broad-spectrum finishes and add accessories to create specific themes. Older kitchens often lack enough plug points so extra points will need to be installed by a qualified electrician. Plumbing should also be left to the professionals unless you are merely changing a tap. Remember, you will not be able to make use of your kitchen during the entire renovation process, so a quick turnaround should be part of your plan – there are only so many takeaway and microwave meals one can handle.

Are tiles my only option for bathroom surfaces?

Bathrooms are considered the new spas; they’re now larger than before and often designed as wet rooms with luxury shower and tap fittings; some even incorporate steam showers. Tiles are still a popular choice for wall finishes but there are other waterproof surface preparations – such as stucco – in a choice of different colors, that can be sealed and applied instead. OUTDOORS What type of natural roofing is best suited to outdoor space? Bluegum poles can easily be used to create rustic pergolas as they don’t need to be painted or treated. And grass or bamboo screens are ideal not only for covering unsightly surfaces like vibacrete walls, but they can also be used for covering a roof structure. Although not waterproof, the screens will let in ample light while still providing shade.

Saltwater or chlorine pool?

The first variant does not mean it is totally chlorine-free. It still utilizes a typical chlorine generator. This has some advantages: there is no need to purchase chlorine, as well as store or handle this chemical. But there are instances where salt is not ideal. For this system to operate correctly, the pump must run for up to 12 hours a day to make enough chlorine to disinfect the water. The other problem with saltwater pools is corrosion – it can cause the surfaces to deteriorate and will attack the metal in handrails.

What type of wood is best suited for outdoors?

When adding wooden ‘hard landscaping’ elements to your garden or patio area, you need to consider its maintenance. So it’s important you choose the right materials. Meranti, balau, saligna, garapa and teak should be your first choices as they are all durable and fairly easy to maintain. They differ in price, though so your decision will undoubtedly affect your budget. Each variety has advantages with regard to maintenance; you can use a wood oil or a varnish to keep your wood in good condition. How do I make my outside area an extension of my home? Our climate easily lends itself to ‘inside-outside living’ and pergolas or patios are perfect for creating outside rooms that extend from within – they also add value to the property. Other hard landscaping elements could also include structures separate to the main building (decks, laps, outside fireplaces, braai areas, water features, ponds, etc) but to ensure that they add to, rather than detract from, the style of your home. it’s best to consider durable elements that are also comfortable when decorating an outdoor room: choose hardwearing furniture and fabrics, finish the look with interesting, colorful accessories and extend your color scheme from your home’s interior.

How important is it to consider your natural surroundings when renovating?

It is as vital that you adapt to your surroundings as it is to adjust your environment to suit your needs and lifestyle. When you move into a new home (and you have the budget) make the changes you require as soon as you can – or you’ll find that space will slowly dictate your lifestyle.

What type of paving is best suited for outdoor areas?

Paving is often the most common surface because it’s relatively cheap and non-slip. For added texture and color, combine small pavers with larger blocks. Concrete paving blocks are tough and affordable and can be made to look like tiles, pavers or cobbles – and can be colored in a variety of shades. Sandstone and stone tiles are beautiful and durable, but fairly expensive and also need to be sealed, as a stone is porous.