Restyle or refurbish

Having just been and fetched the company Land Rover back from the first phase what promises to be a very costly and time consuming refurbishment, I started considering the recent trend for renovating homes. With the Land Rover I wanted to give it a longer life span and remove a lot of future issues by undertaking the bulk of repair jobs in one big hit. By having the chassis, pipes, brakes, suspension and a load of small jobs all done together I’ve future proofed it for a few years. What I was conscious of was that I didn’t want to lose the aesthetics of the vehicle under a load of bolt on pieces of bling. What I wanted was my classic Land Rover in mint condition.

I can see a lot of similarities in how people approach a refurbishment of a house. Most people buy a house that they like the aesthetics of already. But sadly no house is ever lasting. So do you repair and replace as you go along? Or have you considered modernising?

Is it worth restyling the outside or should you settle for some repointing and new fascias? White rendered walls and timber panelling might be a nice feature, but is it practical and does it add value, or is it a fad that’s going to cost you the earth without a decent return. We recently visited a house where the brickwork had been mistreated with a masonry paint that was going to need a sandblasting technique to remove it. Unfortunately this was going to ruin the face of the bricks so a pre coloured render was suggested. There was also a requirement to provide a rear extension and a new porch, along with a side car port and new windows. So the opportunity to renovate the property and give it a new look presented itself.

But say you don’t want an extension, your house is in need of maintenance, the pointing is failing, windows are leaking/misted up, guttering is old and cracked, fascias are rotten or you just want a new look and to ensure the house is watertight and Maintenance free for the next few years. I’d always suggest starting with a good design. Unless your house is listed or in a conservation area there aren’t usually any restrictions on what you can do to the external appearance. But it’s worth seeking out someone who has experience to ensure you get the right materials and pallette. Most materials have something called an agrement certificate. This means they are tested and suitable for purpose.

Once you have a scheme the next step is to get good builder on board, be sure you see their previous work to make sure they have experience. Remember your looking for work that will last 30 years at least so going for the cheapest isn’t going to pay off. Once you have had a price from your builder (always try and get at least 3 prices from different contractors) then you can decide if you’re going to be able to afford it. At this point you can also contact your local estate agent and see what they suggest would be the result on your property values.

In my experience half measures rarely work when your considering renovation or restyling. If you’re re-styling to alter the look of your property it’s best to make sure you have a scheme you can afford and that covers all the repairs and maintenance issues that made you consider it to start with.

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