Kitchen Renovation: Looking Before You Leap

Have you ever heard of the urban legend about the woman who wanted some new tiles for her kitchen? The legend goes that the woman not only got her new tiles, but a brand new kitchen, a gas leak and a £30,000 debt as well. Such stories for some are actually not exaggerations but possibilities for home-owners who begin ideas for a kitchen renovation in their heads and never advance from there.

A kitchen renovation for all intents and purposes is a change far from simply getting new wallpaper or a new dinette set. If you don’t want to think out the difference between renovation and redesigning you could always hire a professional. But if you baulk at the costs of hiring one, then you have no choice but to get down to the nuts and bolts of what a proper kitchen renovation should accomplish.

If you simply want to change your tiles or your cabinets then you should summon a force of will to do just that, nothing more, nothing less. But if you happen to be among 6 out of 10 Brits who suddenly discover something far more serious than ugly furniture, please be reminded that you have been warned. Houses grow old and kitchens especially bear the wear and tear of being a major hub of family activity. It is but natural that at some point, the problem may be more than just leaky pipes or bad drainage.

When to Start a Kitchen Renovation

Ideally, depending on the age and condition of your home, the ideal time for a kitchen renovation should be about a year and a half if it’s a brand new home. If it’s an old house, you may want to renovate immediately according to you specifications. Old homes in particular make it easier for planning a kitchen renovation because you get to spot the problems almost immediately. Even so, DIY renovations are rarely for the faint hearted!

As in any endeavour that involves labour and expense, planning and organization are important components that should be written down, not stored in your head. It would be better if you take a larger approach to your kitchen renovation rather than doing it piece-meal. If you make a thorough assessment but could not afford all of it, you can do the more important renovations today and do the rest later. The important thing is that you’ve taken the trouble of understanding your kitchen as a whole unit which means that you are better equipped to handle problems that may come along the way.

The primary concern that prompts a kitchen renovation is when the size is clearly no longer working or it may have structural problems. Renovation of this kind may mean expansion or a change of lay-out. Either way, this is a major renovation and would need some expert help. Don’t worry about the extra expense because re-doing something you’ve done yourself is twice more expensive.

Second major concern are kitchen components; not enough storage space? Outdated or worn out appliances, fixtures and cabinets? If you’re doing the whole bunch and have concerns about design elements, pick complementary ones from a single retailer so you can easily match them with the rest of the kitchen.

Third major concerns are the kitchen’s lifelines; is the plumbing and electrical wiring up to standard? Is heating and ventilation optimized?

With all these in mind, not only should your kitchen renovation (and wider home improvements) be successful but an experience that will never be the stuff of embarrassing urban legends.

Buy A Wallpaper Stripper To Get Off To A Great Start With Decorating

Wallpapering can be difficult if it’s not a skill you’ve developed. It’s a common way to improve the look of your home, but at the same time, getting it wrong quickly makes things worse rather than better. Misaligned strips of patterned wallpaper are a particular problem, so if you’re having your first attempt, choosing a design that’s less complex can make things a little simpler for your first time.

Fail To Prepare, Prepare To Fail!

While many people realise it’s all gone to pot as they hang wallpaper, and usually when the second strip goes up and just won’t sit straight and in line with the first, the problem is almost always in the preparation. Once you’ve learned to hang paper properly, you’ll know that the surfaces need a lot of work before you even thinking about mixing the paste and cutting lengths off the rolls.

It’s actually quite obvious when you think about it, if a wall isn’t prepared properly it’s not going to be a flat surface. If you don’t put paper onto a flat surface, it’s not going to look as good as it should. It’s easy to say that, but how exactly to you go about achieving a perfectly flat wall?

Firstly, you need to recognise you have to work with what you’ve got. For most people, they’re not starting with a freshly plastered wall, and may be facing years of dodgy decorating gone by, with layer upon layer of wallpaper to contend with.

Getting back to a clean surface is the goal, but you need to be aware it’s not always possible, at least not within most people’s skill set. If you’ve got an old house, and the rooms still enjoy the same plasterwork as when they were first built, it may well not be in the best nick. It’s not a disaster, there are techniques you can employ, but it does take a little effort to find out where you’re starting from.

Removing What’s Already In Place

If the room you’re working with is already papered, then you’re going to need to start by removing that. Sometimes it will already peeling away at the corners (or worse), and other times it will feel like it was put up with superglue and won’t budge at all. If you’re in a place where peeling it back is an option, then go for it and see how far you get, as it will leave less to deal with. In most cases, you won’t be lucky enough to be able to simply peel it all off in one go.

Decorators Tools Of The Trade

Getting from the initial peel to a flat wall is very tough if you’re not sure what you’re doing. Fortunately, there are two simple items you can buy to really help with the process. Firstly, get your hands on a wallpaper steamer. They’re essentially the decorator’s equivalent of a kitchen kettle, with a hose and plate attached to dampen the wall’s surface (namely the stubborn paper) with steam. They’re really cheap to get hold of, and there’s loads to choose from. While they all do roughly the same thing, some are better than others, so have a look at some wallpaper steamer reviews and get one ordered at least a couple of days before you start – that way it will be delivered in time. Alternatively, you can often pick them up in places like B&Q, but typically it’s a bit more expensive that way.

The second thing you need is a good scraper. Most people have seen them before, and they’re an essential buy. We’ve seen people try and use cutlery and all sorts, and given a decent scraper won’t cost you more ten a few quid, there’s no reason not to do things properly. You’ll save yourself a big headache by using the correct tools. You can see a big range of them on Amazon here.

In most cases, those two will be enough, but for really tough jobs, there are stripper solutions available too – they’re formulated to apply to difficult areas and will soften what’s proving too difficult to remove with a steamer and scraper. Again, you can buy onlin at somewhere like Amazon or B&Q (diy.com).

Give It Time

Once you’ve got the paper off in its entirety, let it dry and breathe. You might have a lot of different colours in the plaster around the room. Don’t worry, that’s perfectly normal. Once it’s visually dry, allow another couple of hours in the summer months, or at least overnight in the winter. That will let you see the true surface you’re dealing with. Until it’s dry, it may not be clear to see crumbling sections that you need to deal with before decorating.

Once you’re happy it’s all dry and clean, have a close look at the surfaces. You might have areas where plaster has come away, or even cracks forming. Be honest with yourself – if poly filler is up to the job of filling them, great, but if it needs more, consider getting a plasterer in to help. The cost often puts people off, but skimming a room before decorating can mean you get far better results. A good plasterer will leave very flat surfaces, but you do need to let it all dry out again for at least a few days before getting started.

Get Started On Decorating

If you’re wallpapering, take your time and measure everything twice (or more). While it’s much easier if things go wrong to remove freshly applied paper than the old stuff was to get off, taking your time can mean getting it right first time. It’s also easy to end up with a sticky, paste-filled mess if you apply, remove and re-apply over and over. It’s not a difficult job if you’re taking the time to think about what you’re trying to achieve, but a lot of people just dive in without enough thought. There’s plenty of videos on YouTube too if you want expert guidance to watch before you get under way.

In terms of the equipment you’ll be using, have a good sized bucket available for paste, and make sure you read the paste mixing instructions carefully. Two big mistakes are using ‘roughly’ the right amount of water to mix the paste, and not putting the elbow grease in to mix it up well enough. There’s a reason why instructions are precise – follow them!

Also, have a good paste brush. It needs to be one designed for the job, ideally with a big head and lots of long bristles. A paint brush isn’t a good choice, and if there’s nothing else you do, make sure it’s clean before use. The last thing you want is old lumps of paste coming out on the back of the paper before you hang it on the wall!

All this might sound really tricky, but actually it’s nothing more that a case of knowing what you’re doing. Reading a little before you start and watching a few videos is more than sufficient for giving you the information you need to do things properly and building a little confidence. Remember, you can always start again, it’s not going to be as hard to return to a blank canvas as it was to remove the old paint and paper!

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Easy Ideas For DIY Home Improvements

You know your home could look better, but you are unsure of where to begin. Does this pretty much describe your situation? If so, this article is for you. You will learn of some home improvement ideas that do not require the assistance of a professional.

Painting is one way to spruce up your house yourself. Sure, the paint itself can get quite pricey, but think of all the money you will save by doing it yourself. If you are unsure of what kind of paint would be best for your home, you could always ask an employee at a home improvement store to recommend one for you.

Putting down tiles on your floor is much easier than you may think. Though it may be time consuming, it can be done for a relatively cheap price. Simply go to the home improvement store, figure out which tiles will look best, and purchase them, along with grout, special glue made for tiles, and whatever else you may need. You can look online for a step-by-step guide for some help.

You would be surprised at how much better each room in your home could look if you were to replace old fixtures. No matter how nice your tub, sink or shower are, if the fixtures on them are old, they are not going to look as good as they should. It is very easy to replace fixtures and they are not to pricey either!

Handles are another easy fix you can do yourself. Change out old doorknobs and cabinet and drawer handles. Even if you have new cabinets or doors, how good are they are going to look if the handles are worn out? Once again, these objects are quite cheap and come in a variety of styles. Magazines and books are great resources for finding the style that best suits your tastes.

Wallpaper can really spice up the look of a room and the price to do so is wonderful. The best part of wallpapering is that it can be done in barely any time at all. If you do decide to add wallpapering to your home, whether it is one room or multiple rooms, just keep the future of your home in mind. You do not want to have a design that could prevent your home from selling, should you put it on the market in the future.

A common part of improvements people overlook is their outdoor space. People first see the outside of your home when coming to your house, so you want to make sure it looks it best. Regularly cut your grass, trim trees and bushes, rake up leaves and if you have a garden, keep up with your plants. The whole look of the exterior of your home will improve.

In conclusion, you are probably reading this article because you would like to improve the way your home looks. However, you probably would like to avoid going broke by hiring an expert. The above article gave you some ideas on which improvements you can make to your home yourself. Now, put them to use!

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