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Major Home Improvements Ideas

Updated on June 4, 2011

Major Home Improvements Ideas

Altering the structure of your home is an excellent idea if you plan to say there long enough to enjoy it. In most homes there is quite a lot of scope for changing things and this section suggests some of the most common. The first things is to think flexibly about the way you live in the place.

Conventional wisdom has it that in two-or more storey houses you live at the bottom and sleep the top. This may that you don't get the best from the size of the rooms and the light. For example it makes far more sense to sleep in a darkish basement since you are only there at night and to site living rooms and kitchen somewhere where you will benefit from natural daylight and perhaps a view. If you have got huge bedroom but only one bathroom, consider taking a corner of a bedroom and installing an en suit shower and loon. If the plumbing permits you can site a bath in a bedroom without putting any walls or partitions round it.

Extra loss can often be tucked into spaces like cupboards under stairs and roof space can be used for all sorts of things from a study to a model railway room.

Knocking through

Where rooms are small and you want more space it is usually possible to knock down a wall between two rooms and create a larger one. Don't do this without taking advice from an architect or surveyor unless you are very confident of your structural knowledge. Where a wall is load bearing- i. e. holds up part of the rest of the house-you will need to install a special beam to perform its function in its absence . Even where a wall is not load bearing its removal may affect the surrounding rooms and some form of reinforcement may need to be put in.

Splitting up

In converse cases where rooms are large and you want to divide them, you must put up some form of partition. This can be done in a number of ways. If you are merely putting in a unit to separate a kitchen from a dining area or a study from a living area this is fairly straightforward and certainly something you can do yourself if you want to.

If you are in fact creating two proper rooms out of one you will have to comply with the Building Regulations which dictate what is needed in the way of opening windows and ventilation. You will probably lose quite a lot of space in creating access to the two rooms. If you are for example putting a child's bedroom next to a living room, make sure that the partition is sufficiently thick to provide good sound insulation.

Loft conversions

Lofts may seem quite small as you creep as you creep around, taking care not to put your foot through the space between the joists. But they can provide quite large rooms when converted. However it is vital to take professional advice on whether your loft is suitable for conversion what sort of conversion you should have and what it will cost. No loft conversion is cheap but it does have the advantage of giving you extra space without affecting the rest of the house apart from the spot on the floor below where the staircase giving access to the conversion will be sited.

There are a number of firms who provide a kind of kit loft conversion,. They will come and discuss the job with you draw up the plans and submit them to the local authority and then deal with all the work. Provided your loft and the conversion you require are reason why you shouldn't use one of these firms. Go for one with a good track record that has been around for some time. There are plenty of cowboys in the loft conversion business who either fail to complete the job properly or are not in business any more when any problem arise. When getting quotes ask the work. Get two or three and check exactly what each covers, looking especially carefully at the clauses conversion firms will complete the work quite quickly since, unlike ordinary builders this is the only type of job they complete the more money they make.

Agree everything with them in writing including with them in writing including the size and frequency of the stage payments you will have to when the job is completed and pay it when after a period of six weeks or so, you are satisfied that the work has been done to your satisfaction.

Access and ventilation are two important things to consider with a loft conversion. There are strict regulations about how high the roof or part of it, must be. In England and Wales the Building Regulations insist that at least half the floor area of the conversion has a ceiling of more than 2.3 meters ( 7 ft 6 in) from the finished floor level and there are similar regulations in Scotland.

Because you are adding another storey to your home there are Fire Regulations to which you must adhere. This may mean installing fire doors and fitting self-closing hinges to existing doors in your home and the building inspector who will look at the work while it is in progress will insist that all the precautions are taken.

Unless you have the time and knowledge to supervise the work yourself it is probably best to ask an architect. surveyor or structural engineer to do this for you. They will work either on an agreed fee or on a percentage on an agreed fee or on a percentage of the total cost of the work. But for most people this is money well spent.

On a conversion where you are subcontracting where you are subcontracting work to a number of different firms builders plumbers electricians and decorators it can be difficult to co-ordinate their activities and ensure that the work progresses smoothly. Paying someone to do this for you is a sensible idea and should mean that the job doesn't involve in the garden newspaper over the lower reaches of the house and only polythene between you and taken off.

Work out the services you will need in your loft conversion. Electricity is obviously necessary for light but it wouldn't be worth taking in it. Think carefully about how you will heat it; if it's not in regular use but is a spare bedroom or hobbies area, it's probably cheaper to install some form of electric spot heating rather than extend your central heating system.

If you are putting in a bathroom or toilet you will need to site these as directly above the plumbing on the floor below as possible.


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    • MyMastiffPuppies profile image


      7 years ago

      Very good info once again. The picture of the house is really breathtaking. Very unique, and I love all of the outdoor space it provides. Bookmarking to show my husband. Voted up, useful, and awesome...

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      7 years ago

      I will follow every excellent suggestion you make if I can have that house. :) up and very useful


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