Whether you’re tackling a home updating project yourself or hiring a professional team, before heading off to your local Bunnings hardware store having a few tricks up your sleeve can mean the difference between dazzling and disaster.
Knowing how to plan, budget, select tradies and clean up afterward can save you time, money and major headaches.
Below we share some of the best home improvement tricks that the 50s Plus Lifestyle team swear by.
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1. Plan, Plan – and Plan Some More
Before any work begins, plan your project step by step. Does some work need to happen before other work can begin? Can you save money by handling less technical tasks yourself and hiring a pro for electrical work or plumbing?
Keep a notebook or spreadsheet with several sections: steps or stages for your project, a list of potential contractors with contact info and notes, materials and costs, and any sketches, swatches or details you don’t want to forget.
Knowing how many stages the project will need, as well as the materials or services you need to budget for, will help prevent surprises as the project progresses.
2. Calculate the Costs
During the planning stage, it’s important to calculate the estimated cost of every aspect. Consider costs for work you’ll have done, equipment you’ll need to buy or rent, along with materials, cleanup costs and any maintenance needed afterward. You should also plan ahead for extra expenses that might pop up, such as the cost of a hotel stay if you need to vacate the premises for a few days.
3. Research and Vet Your Contractors
Before hiring any professionals, do your research. Ask to see examples of other jobs they’ve worked on (and visit one of their current projects if you can), check that they have all the necessary qualifications and insurance, and try to hire somebody with more than three years of experience. You need to trust the team that’s working on your home, so do your homework.
4. Get DIY Plans Checked
If you’re carrying out a large-scale project yourself, it’s a good idea to get your plans checked by an architect or structural engineer.
It’s vital to know the difference between a load-bearing wall that should stay intact and one you can safely knock out. One wrong move and you could have serious – and expensive – damage to deal with, so play it safe.
Before you undertake any development or building works, you will need to determine if any approvals are required. It is also worth checking if you need local council approval before undertaking any major projects.
5. Make a Kitchen Camp
If you’re having work done in the kitchen or somewhere that could make kitchen access difficult, set up a mini camp elsewhere. Invest in a small fridge where you can keep a few cold essentials, and store it with your kettle or coffee maker, a few dishes and some cutlery, a bottle of dish soap and a roll of paper towels. That way, if you’re limited to just a few rooms for several days, you can still pull together some basic meals and a hot cup of tea or coffee.
6. Use Plastic Sheets
Covering all your floors and furniture with bed sheets might protect them from light dust, but what about spills and heavier debris? To keep furniture and floors clean and damage free during renovation work, cover them with thick plastic sheets. Laying cardboard beneath the plastic will keep hard flooring safe from cracks, scratches and dents, too.
7. Prep Before You Paint
Before painting walls, clean them with a nonabrasive cleaner and a soft sponge. Use some sugar soap to remove dirt and grime. Finally, run a damp paper towel over the walls to remove any remaining soap residue, and let them dry completely before painting.
8. Clean up Effectively
Renovation work can quickly fill your home with dust, grime and debris. After the job is complete, carefully remove all plastic sheeting from furniture and floors. Clean hard floors with a Swiffer WetJet, an all-in-one mopping system with a cleaning solution that loosens dirt and lifts it off the floor. Use Swiffer 360 Dusters to trap and lock dirt that has settled on baseboards, fan blades and blinds. As a finishing touch, spray some air freshener in your newly renovated space to fill it with a fresh, clean scent and eliminate paint odours.