Home Improvements

Home Improvement Prices

Q - I know that the approximate cost of new building work can be assessed on a square metre basis but is there a method to calculate the approximate cost of conversion and renovation work?

A - The problem is that conversion work varies from job to job much more that new build work so it is difficult to apply a flat rate. The best approach is to start with a basic new build figure of say £1,000 per square metre and deduct the items that don't need upgrading, usually the external walls and the roof, say 25%.

That reduces the square metre rate to £800. You then need to assess the condition of the other elements such as plumbing, heating and electrics and you then may be able to reduce the rate to £650 depending upon their state.

You can see that this is a rough and ready approach but it is a start. The best method, of course, is to obtain some quotations but that isn't always an option in the early days of a project.

DIY Home Improvement Savings

Q - Our house needs upgrading (new bathroom and kitchen) and I have a quotation of £38,000 to carry out this work. However, I am fairly handy at DIY work and wonder how much I could save if I did the work myself.

A - The normal breakdown of a contractor's quotation for work of this sort would be 45% for labour, 40% for materials and 15% for overheads and profit.

So in theory you could save the labour and overheads and profit costs, i.e 60%. This amounts to £22,800 but against that you should be aware that a builder could probably do the work much faster than you can so you would have to put up with the inconvenience of a messed-up house for much longer.

Home Improvement Budget

Q - We are running over budget on our three bedroom detached house and are looking for ways of making savings. We were going to wallpaper all of the walls but wonder what savings we could make if we only applied two coats of emulsion paint instead. Either way we will be doing the work ourselves.

A - It depends on the cost of the wallpaper you were going to use but here are some figures that may help. Based on a wall area of 200m square metres the emulsion paint should cost about £180 for two coats. The total cost of the wallpaper is set out below and you can see that the savings would only kick in if you were planning on using paper sosting £6 per roll or more.

£4 per roll £132
£5 per roll £165
£6 per roll £198
£7 per roll £231
£8 per roll £264

Home Improvement Flooring

Q - We are considering laying hardwood floors in our house but not the laminated wood type. What are the likely costs involved?

A - Hardwood strip flooring is quite expensive and I have set out some approximate square metre prices for the most popular types.

Oak £90
Maple £85
Beech £85
Iroko £85

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