Is DIY house renovation a good idea?

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According to data from Money,co.uk, in 2022 over 16.25 million homes went through some form of renovation. And, with the average three bedroom home renovation costing around £76,000, and the average UK annual salary standing at £32,000. Many people are wondering if DIY home renovations are the way forward.

Currently, it seems like we are in a DIY house renovation renaissance, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons of tackling such projects independently. While the perks of potential cost savings and the satisfaction of completing a remodel yourself can be enticing, there are many critical factors to consider.

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Is DIY house renovation a good idea?

DIY house renovation is when you complete the renovations yourself, which is appealing to many as it can save people both time and money. DIY home renovations involves replacing a contractor or building firm, with yourself, doing much of the labour work associated with a house build.

House renovations can obviously vary in size and scale, with some being house extensions and others being a kitchen remodel. If you are attempting to take on a large home renovation yourself, it is recommended that you have a building consultant or a building firm on hand to aid you in the process.

What are the benefits of a DIY house renovation?

When undertaking a do-it-yourself house renovation, there are quite a few benefits, including saving on costs, creating a sense of accomplishment and a greater sense of control over the final outcome.

Renovate on a budget

The cost of a DIY house renovation in the UK will vary depending on what work is actually being done, the size and location of the property, and what finish you want. But, one thing is for certain, renovating a property yourself is one sure way to renovate within a budget.

Simple aesthetic changes like painting walls, installing new fixtures or refreshing the decor can cost anywhere from £1,000 to £5,000 depending on the size of the room and the quality of materials chosen.

A DIY kitchen renovation or DIY bathroom renovation can range from £2,000 to £15,000 or more and the costs can escalate significantly if you replace appliances or make any structural changes, or if you want to hire external contractors to fix plumbing.

If you want to completely renovate an entire house on your own it may cost a bit more, ranging from £20,000 to £100,000 depending on the size of the property and the extent of the renovations.

You will also need to budget for materials, tools and equipment, this can include everything from lumber and paint to power tools and safety gear.

Transform your home

Transforming your home through a DIY renovation allows you to personalise your home to your exact style and needs. You have full creative control over your design choices, ensuring that the final result is exactly what you want.

DIY house renovations also act as an excellent opportunity to learn new skills and gain valuable hands-on experience. Whether its carpentry, plumbing or tiling, you can acquire practical knowledge that can be useful in the grand scheme of managing your home.

There is a huge sense of accomplishment and pride that comes with successfully completing a DIY home renovation. Seeing the fruits of your labour from all your hard work can be immensely satisfying and boost your confidence.

Not only can the renovations offer a sense of accomplishment, but they can emotionally attach you to the property. All renovations, let alone DIY remodels require high levels of effort and care, and so the project will create a stronger bond with your living space.

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What are the potential challenges of DIY house renovations?

Although there are numerous benefits to DIY house renovations, there are also some potential challenges you will need to consider. These may come in the form of lack of expertise, safety risks, time management and physical demands of the build.

Lack of expertise

The lack of expertise is a common challenge during a DIY house renovation. It can manifest in many ways, including not knowing how to apply plaster, lacking knowledge about building regulations, or the legal side of a build — like letting neighbours know about any changes to a party wall.

Before starting any DIY project, you should invest time into researching and learning about the tasks you are about to undertake. You can utilise online resources like youtube videos, ebooks and DIY forums to gain knowledge and insight into the tasks required.

If you are worried about the scale of work, and have some time on your hands before the build, you could visit a local college and visit workshops on basic carpentry and plumbing.

You should also remember that good advice is only a phone call away! There are plenty of people around you (neighbours, colleagues, family) that will have carried out renovation projects themselves.

Having lack of expertise during a DIY project is very common, and the truth of it is, a renovation has a steep learning curve. But, if you manage to get your head around the skills and safety regulations needed, you will greatly benefit from the satisfaction of renovating your own house.

Time management

Time management is a potential challenge during a DIY house renovation due to the complexities of a project, the unexpected issues and the balancing act of carrying out the renovation and having a normal life.

To overcome this, you should always begin a renovation project with a plan that outlines the tasks and timeline for your renovation. You can create a project roadmap by breaking down the project into smaller, manageable steps, and assign estimated timeframes for each task.

You should also be realistic about the time you can allocate to the renovation, considering your work schedule, family commitments and any other responsibilities. Don’t hesitate to ask for assistance from friends or family members with relevant expertise or experience. Having an extra pair of hands or a second opinion can be invaluable.

What should you consider before doing DIY renovations?

In order to get real opinions on the matter, we spoke to the team over at The Property Buying Company about their experiences while renovating a house.

We asked them “What did you wish you knew before you started your DIY renovations?”

Marc Andrews, Principal Property Consultant, said “I wish I knew more about the costs, how to find reliable tradesmen and that you shouldn’t rush through the process.”

Alaine Di Michele, Investment Sales Manager, said “I wish I knew it would cost more and take longer than I’d planned. I did have a contingency plan of 10% on costs and time. But that was at the start of Covid so all building work stopped, then the shops shut and the price of materials went up.”

Gemma Robinson, Sales Progressor, said “I wish I’d have known how shocking contractors are, mainly for internal works e.g. Plastering, plumbing, tiling etc. The ones who showed up were great but we had a lot of delays we could have avoided if we’d known. Not all bad though as we’ve taught ourselves lots of skills and managed to do most of the work ourselves.”

As we learnt from the insight from the team at The Property Buying Company, some of the things they wish they knew included budget planning, the project scope, your timeline, safety precautions and what equipment you will need for the build.

We would recommend that you determine your budget for the renovation, including costs for materials, tools, planning and any legal costs. Having a contingency plan of at least 10% of your overall expected budget is also a good idea.

Outside of the contingency plan, you can create a detailed budget allocating funds to specific aspects of the project. The budget should include some foresight that things tend to be a little more expensive than first thought. You should also keep a careful eye on everything you purchase throughout the renovation process in order to stay within budget.

Alongside the budget, you should also think about how much work is going to be carried out during the renovation. You should outline what you intend to accomplish and what the desired outcome is.

How do you renovate on a budget?

Renovating on a budget requires a combination of careful planning and resourcefulness. You can start by setting a realistic budget, accounting for materials, any external labour, legal expenses and a contingency plan for unexpected surprises.

Prioritise your renovation goals and focus on essential improvements first – consider what tasks you can do DIY, such as painting or simple carpentry. Shop around for deals on materials and look for discounts, sales or second-hand items at online marketplaces.

Reuse or repurpose existing items when possible and avoid making unnecessary structural changes that can inflate your costs.

Elise Eastwood, a member of The Property Buying Company team, recently embarked on a home renovation project on a budget with the aim of creating a more welcoming atmosphere for her partner and step-daughter.

We asked her a series of questions, here were the results:

How long did the renovation take you?

“The bedroom part of our renovation took approximately two weeks, where we built and attached wood panelling, painted the walls and updated the bed and lighting fixtures. We put extra effort into ensuring that the bedroom was appropriate for both myself and my partner.”

“The kitchen and sitting room took us around 3 weeks where we completed a complete overhaul of interior design within the space. We worked extremely hard to increase the comfort and aesthetics in this room. Meanwhile, the living room is still an ongoing project.”

“Transforming our garden was a relatively swift but impactful part of our project. It took us just one week to complete our garden makeover. During this time we focused on landscaping and planting new greenery.”

What was your overall budget? And, did you manage to stay within its perimeters?

“For the interior renovation, we had allocated around £10,000 while we had a budget of £6,000 for the garden. However, as we delved into the garden project, we did go slightly over our initial budget.”

“This did result in some challenges as we’ve unfortunately run out of funds to complete other areas of our house, such as the bathroom, hallway and the spare bedroom. As a result, we’ve had to adopt a phased approach to complete these remaining projects which is taking a bit longer than originally planned.”

“Luckily, during our renovation project, we’ve been fortunate enough to have support from our family. My father, who is a skilled plumber and an amazing handyman, has been so helpful with our work.”

“Additionally, my partner’s brother-in-law, who is a talented carpenter, has not only saved us money, has also ensured the quality and craftsmanship of our renovation has been upheld.”

Did you use salvaged or repurposed items?

“Fortunately, before we started on the garden, our budget stretched further than we initially anticipated, allowing us the wonderful opportunity to purchase everything we needed brand new. This was an exciting prospect for us because it meant that we could curate a fresh and modern look for our space, ensuring that every item was functional and stylish.”

What external help did you get?

“The only external help we enlisted was a local landscaper who happened to be our neighbour! This neighbourly collaboration not only provided us with expert landscaping advice and competitive pricing.”

DIY renovation projects ideas

A DIY house renovation project can be a fulfilling experience as you transform your home into the dream home you’ve always wanted. To guide you through the process of adding value to your home while staying on a budget, here are our top DIY renovation project ideas:

1# Painting

One of the most effective and simple home renovation ideas to instantly transform your space is to give it a fresh coat of paint. Repainting walls, especially in areas like a living room or bedroom, can give your property an entirely new look without the need for major structural changes.

2# Minor touch ups

If you live in an older property, you may want to consider preserving original features like timber floorboards, which can be sanded down and refinished to bring out their natural beauty. There are plenty of different types of polishes, waxes and varnishes that can bring floorboards back to life.

3# Improve energy efficiency

Energy efficiency when renovating old houses is a vital aspect of any home renovation project. To make it less draughty and more environmentally friendly, you could consider a sustainable renovation although this may be more expensive.

Eco-renovations is where you update the heating and electrics, install new window treatments and worktops, and add internal wall insulation. These energy-efficient upgrades not only reduce your utility bills but also enhance the comfort of your space.

4# Adding storage space

All houses need more storage space, which is why using your DIY skills to add storage in order to declutter your home is essential. Whether it’s building shelves, cabinets, or under-stair storage (like Harry Potter), these DIY projects can be undertaken by yourself.

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Tom is a Digital Content Writer passionate about sustainable property & property trends. Regardless of the subject, he will always write blogs of the best calibre. Read more about Tom here.

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About Tom Condon 125 Articles
Tom is a Digital Content Writer passionate about sustainable property & property trends. Regardless of the subject, he will always write blogs of the best calibre. Read more about Tom here.

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