Five things you should know before home DIY

Are you ready to tackle that home project that you’ve been thinking about for months? Whether you’re just giving the walls a new coat of paint in a different colour or adding square footage to your home, there are some little-known setbacks to watch out for. Likewise, there are several things you can do to make your project easier. Avoid learning by trial-and-error with these useful DIY tips.

“Do-it-yourself” isn’t always meant to be by yourself. As proud as it may make you feel to have completed your home improvement project solo, many times, this is neither safe nor reasonable. If you are taking on a job of a larger scope, such as installing solar panels, or if you are moving unwieldy objects, such as cabinets, it’s important to ask for help. This will not only help you finish in a reasonable time but also make sure that you get the best results possible.

You may need to get permits before making any changes to your home. Small projects like painting or re-carpeting usually are at the discretion of the owner. However, if your DIY task list involves demolition, you should first check with your local council to see if you need any permits for the work that you want to do. This will help keep you on good terms with the neighbours and keep you within your legal rights as a homeowner. If you start work on your home without a permit and your local inspection authority finds out, you could be forced to undo all of your renovations.

You could have major issues lurking underneath the surface. From mould to termites, and from faulty electrical wiring to asbestos, possible issues with the foundation and frame of your home can be annoying or just outright deadly. This is why it’s best to get a home inspection before disturbing the framework in any way. Knowing what you are getting into–literally–before you start is your best shot at avoiding nuisances like compensation for asbestos claims.

Your project may take more time and money than you expect. This is a key point that many homeowners miss when they are planning their DIY projects. You should include a buffer of time and money that roughly equals ten percent of your budget. Planning for the unexpected will help you stay focused and keep you calm should mishaps take place.

Success is determined by safety. No one will be impressed with your completely refinished bathroom if you had to break your back to get it done. Remember that your body is the ultimate home, so keep it intact by always wearing the proper clothing and using the right tools. Having a spotter or someone to help lift heavy objects is also a key way to achieve DIY success.

What is the UK’s Green Deal? [Guest Post]

The United Kingdom is on the cusp of launching its much lauded Green Deal scheme that will allow people to access low interest loans in order to get energy efficient home improvements. The bill is slated to start on October of 2012, but is unlikely to be fully operational until sometime in 2013. It is argued that the scheme will help reduce energy costs and make homes more energy efficient and this will no doubt help the increasing amount people who live in the UK who are under considerable debt thanks to high energy costs. In a nutshell, the Green Deal will provide access to low interest loans that will in turn lead to professional home improvements and therefore assist people to get out of energy debt.

How it will work

When the program starts, a Green Deal advisor will visit a property and carry out an inspection. The advisor will then decide what energy appropriate measures need to be taken. After the advisor approves the work they will report to a Green Deal Provider who will determine the loan amount required. Once that is finalized a Green Deal Installer will make the necessary energy improvements to the home. Elements available for  improvements and upgrades include cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, heat pump installation and external wall insulation, among others. These measures will essentially improve a building’s energy efficiency which will eventually result in lower energy bills. The UK hopes that several million homes will participate in this “energy revolution”.

In October 2012 the Green Deal will come into play and the DECC has made a list available which details the first group of Green Deal providers.  Currently numbering twenty-two in total, the list includes various well known brands such as B&Q.

Ultimately, and despite a number of reservations surrounding the scheme, the Green Deal will undoubtedly be a good thing for homeowners in the UK. Getting a home energy efficient will lower utility bills and of course ensure that it stays warm in those colder months. Taking external wall insulation as an example, the Green Deal will even improve the appearance of a home in addition to ensuring that the occupiers stay toasty in winter and save pounds on their bank balance!

With new innovations emerging on a regular basis (e.g. Jablite’s Dynamic Cavity), it’s reasonable to believe that insulation has a key role to play in the preservation of our environment. While extra money in our bank account and an extra degree of heat in our homes is all well and good, the world we live in is impossible value and being able to say we helped to ensure its survival is priceless.