Dan Greatrex, Manager of online builders’ merchant Insulation Superstore, part of CMOStores.com, looks at some of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to update and enhance your self-build project.
Setting and sticking to a budget is one of the most essential elements of any renovation or self-build scheme. Still, it can also be one of the most challenging, and prioritising where money would be best spent – and where it can be saved – is the elusive secret of success. Many of our customers come to us for expert guidance on which building products fit their budget and offer the best value for money, but we also discuss that other precious resource – time. As lengthy build programmes can result in spiralling costs and unwanted disruption and mess, it’s always worth considering how you can save time and money. Here are just some of our most popular hacks that can add value without the need to cut corners in terms of performance or aesthetic appeal.
Getting on board
Before any interior design scheme is considered, checking the integrity of interior walls and ceilings is critical. If they look a little worse for wear, re-plastering the whole area is not the only option. The use of plasterboard can help reduce the time and mess associated with traditional wet trades, and as it’s much easier to install, it can also reduce labour costs.
There are several different types of plasterboard available, and the choice of material will depend on where you intend to use it as much as your budget. For example, you may want to consider moisture-resistant plasterboard for kitchens and bathrooms or other humid areas. Some products offer sound-proofing and fire-resistance as well as insulated boards for improved thermal performance. Whereas plastered walls and ceilings can take a long time to fully dry, plasterboards are ready for finishing as soon as they are installed so you can start the interior decoration much sooner.
If you are tackling an installation for the first time yourself, it is always best to get some advice before you start and where possible, buy only what you need to avoid waste. It’s important to remember that plasterboard, including all the small offcuts, isn’t suitable for landfill so have a plan in place. You can get plasterboard-only skips and waste bags where all offcuts can go for large projects, but for small projects, you could contact a local waste collection or recycling company.
One area where it is always worth assigning a large chunk of your budget to is energy efficiency and looking at ways to reduce a scheme’s carbon footprint is one of the best ways to add value and make long-term cost savings. If you are considering using plasterboard, then that is the perfect time to think about adding insulation to your walls and ceilings.
By helping to retain heat, the use of insulation can help reduce energy bills as well as lowering carbon emissions, helping to ensure that your self-build project is as kind to the environment as it is to your bank balance. There are many different products to choose from so again, it’s worth seeking out some technical advice to ensure that you select the best insulation for your needs.
Rooms for improvement
No matter how big or small your project is, some areas will require more attention than others and, as well as making sure you address the overall efficiency of the building, it’s important to invest in the rooms that will give you the best return for your money. Whether this is in terms of increasing the property’s value to yield a higher future sale price or rental income, or whether you want to create your own dream home, it’s essential to prioritise. In many cases, this means focusing on the kitchen and bathroom areas.
If your budget won’t cover a full re-fit, you can still make some changes that won’t break the bank. One popular solution is to update your walls by creating a tiled splashback. This can be done in both kitchens and bathrooms and offers numerous benefits, not least that it is a cost-effective way to disguise unsightly walls and create an attractive focal point. The use of patterned or coloured tiles can draw the eye away from the room’s less impressive elements, and you could also consider using contrasting coloured grout to maximise the impact.
Although this is a cost-effective way to update the walls, don’t be tempted to cut back when buying tiles. It’s always best practice to purchase a few more than you need so that you don’t come up short if there are any accidental breakages. It’s also worth investing in tiles that are specifically designed for use in kitchen and bathrooms so that they offer long-term durability, so consider products that are hard-wearing, non-porous and water-resistant.
Attention to detail
Sometimes it’s the small things that make the most significant difference, so don’t forget detailing. Installing new skirting boards and door architrave will instantly refresh a room, and with a variety of design options available, it can make a real style statement. Ensuring all your interior doors are in good condition – both in terms of their decoration and operation – is also essential. If your budget won’t stretch to new doors, why not consider updating what you have with new door furniture? Simply changing the handles can make a huge impact and free up budget to be used on external and patio doors instead, adding greater value to a property.
It’s always worth shopping around for building materials, but cheapest doesn’t always mean best. If you are taking on a big project or one that you have never tackled before, technical help and bespoke advice are invaluable. Ensure that you take advantage of the full range of support available from product manufacturers and suppliers.