Refurbishment Case Study – Diary of a property renovator

Project details

  • Developer – Owner-managed project
  • Property Detail – Semi-Detached House
  • Location – Barnstaple
  • Duration – 4 Months

Day 1

When we arrived at the house after completion day we found that all the previous owner’s belongings were still inside so the first job was to clear it. We started this yesterday afternoon and got all the furniture, carpets cupboards, etc into the lounge and garage ready for a skip to be delivered first thing today at 7:30 am. Hopefully, we will get most of it in the skip and then start taking the kitchen and bathroom suite apart and get the tiles off the walls. Here are some pictures were taken before we started:

These pictures were taken while we were clearing the house. It took 3 skips in the end and we still have some rocks and overgrown bushes left in the front garden. We will also have to remove a ton or so of shingle and earth from the backgarden before we can grade it and turf it.

Now the house has been reduced to a bare shell we can start to plan out where things are going. The boiler was previously updated and moved to the small bedroom. We are going to move it back into the kitchen. The electrics are currently on one ring. We have started to re-wire into separate rings. Also, the garage has been electrified at some time as a spur from the lounge feed and then spurred again for the lights which we will remove and run a sub-main with its own consumer unit and RCD (Residual Current Device). The fuse board has no RCD and will be replaced with a new Consumer Unit with RCD’s and MCB’s (Miniature Circuit Breakers).

Here is a picture of the kitchen design that we have drawn up. We have had to place the units based around where certain items are or will be situated such as the boiler, soil pipe, and radiator. The kitchen is 3.1m in length and 2m wide.

Most of the channeling and knocking out for the twin and earth and back boxes has now been done in the kitchen. The garden has been completely cleared of rubbish and all the overgrown bushes have been removed ready for grading.

This is the bathroom ripped out ready for the new plumbing and electrics t be put in before the tiling and bathroom suite is fitted.

The lounge is now clear and ready for the floor to be taken up and new electrics installed.

Here is the garden clearance well underway.

This is most (but not all!) of the rocks that were removed from the front garden.

These roots were all removed from the clay pipe storm drains (remnants of pipes in bottom left hand corner of photo) which had to be dug out and replaced.

Part of the new storm drains.

The front and back garden has been totally cleared and we have had a digger into grade the ground before we add topsoil and turf. Also today we have the plasterers doing all the ceilings and walls and a roofer to fix some broken broken tiles on the garage roof and to re-do the flashing.

Snow and ice stop everybody getting in on Friday, more snow on Saturday. Looks like we’ve shut down for Xmas!

The carpenter managed to get in yesterday and installed the garage window frame that he had made up for us along with the door frame and door. The door frame came from Magnets and the door came from B&Q. It has double glazed panes which is a bit of overkill for the garage but it will match as we have ordered the same door for the living room back door.

The window company managed to get out of Torquay despite the well below zero conditions and fit the new PVCu windows today. Also, we have started fitting the new skirting boards and architrave and treated the new wooden garage back door and window to protect them from the elements while we are away over the festive season.

Now we are back in full swing after the festive break. The carpenter is in at the moment hanging the front door. Below are some pictures of the door being offered upon tapered wedges ready to be planed to size. Then there are some pictures of the rebate at the bottom of the door being chopped out with a router. Then finally the hinges and locks are scribed and chopped out with a chisel. It was dark by the time the door was hung so I’ll put some pictures up of the finished job today.

This week the carpenter has finished off the architrave and skirting. All the electrics are now wired so we have replaced the floorboards and made good where we had to chop boards out to run cables. The boiler has now been moved back into the kitchen and is now fully functional so everyone’s happy now that we have the heating on. We have started prepping the walls where conduit has been run and holes have been made etc ready for painting.

This week we have spent prepping and painting the walls in the kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen has now been painted with a couple of coats of primer and four coats of Vinyl Matt Magnolia on the walls and Matt White on all the ceilings plus an undercoat on all the skirtings and architrave.

The carpenter has completed the fitting of all the internal and external doors and door furniture. The three external doors have been treated with a clear wood stain and the internal doors have been primed with an undercoat.

The outside decorating contractors have performed the first stage of their prep taking down all the unwanted fixtures like satellite dishes and aerials which are no longer used. These holes have then been filled up along with the old boiler pipe holes. They have painted the soffits, barge boards, and front door frame and undercoated the up and over garage doors, and made good where the new window and door was put in the garage. They will return to spray with anti-fungicidal treatment, smooth off any holes which have sunk in, and re-bracket the guttering where the fixings have broken or been removed before giving all the render two coats of paint.

Yesterday we tiled and grouted the kitchen floor with a black slate tile.

The kitchen units have now been fitted all bar the wall units. The Kickboards (plinths) and some of the doors have yet to be fitted and the cutouts for the hob and sink in the countertops will be jigsawed out next week.

The bath has been set up and fixed to the floor and wall and a frame has been put round it ready for the plywood to take the tile. The floor has been tiled with the same slate tiles as the kitchen.

All the walls have been prepped and the bedrooms have been primed and painted with matt magnolia on the walls and matt white on the ceilings and the skirting boards and architrave glossed white.

The tiling in the kitchen is now complete and the cooker, hob, cooker hood and sink are in. The taps need to be fitted which needs some cutting around of the panel behind the sink unit. The thermostatic controller for the boiler can now be fitted along with the rest of the electrics in the kitchen. It just remains for the radiator to be painted and the walls finished off around the tiling and new taps fitted for the washing machine along with cutting the access holes in the wall panel. The pull handles also need to be fitted to the doors and drawers.

The bathroom just needs a couple of tiles where the hot and cold feeds and waste pipe extend out from under the bath but this cannot be done until the sink is in. Some remedial work, to allow the tiles to sit flat and perpendicular to the wall, needs to be performed around the window where the double glazing fitters cemented a bar which protrudes out beyond the aperture of the window.

Work has now been completed on the outside walls of the house. The guttering has been re-routed at the back of the house to accommodate the back garage door and a third coat of exterior paint has been applied on the render and second coat on the garage doors. The rest of the internal walls in the house are being prepped and painted and work has started in the garden to remove the old shared fence and replace with feathered edge.

The basin has been installed and plumbed in the bathroom with a splash-back matching the rest of the tile. The tiling has been finished around the sides of the bath and the water feed and waste pipes and the bath panel has been cut and fitted. Anti bacterial caulking has been applied around the bath (when filled with water) and the basin and around the ceiling. Remedial work has been carried out around the inside of the bathroom window. There is some making good to do for the grouting and around the walls and the shower head to fix up along with the shower screen, which will finish off the bathroom work, all slated for Tuesday of next week.

The finishing touches have been applied to the outside of the building fabric with just the turfing, fencing and threshold construction to complete.

Carpenter Tony Dumbarton has been on-site finishing off dry lining, door drip caps and skirting boards in the cupboards where brickwork had been exposed and pipe work had been re-routed.

The exterior render has been finished and also all the making good on the inside has been completed.

The bathroom is now finished. The kitchen is almost complete. Just waiting for the consumer unit to be moved which is scheduled for next Thursday. Then the last wall unit can go up.
Work is busy around the house painting the walls, skirting, and architraves. There is also activity outside removing an old boundary wall and concrete fence posts ready for the new fence and topsoil to level the garden up.

Holes for the fence posts have been dug out, concrete gravel boards put down and the 6-foot feathered edge panels have been mounted in between the posts in the back garden. The first part of the back step has been constructed.

4 tonnes of topsoil have gone down mostly in the back garden to level the ground and make sure the turf falls slightly away from the house. Then the turf has been laid and edged with plumb slate stone. Now we just have to keep it well-watered for the next couple of weeks.

The house has now been carpeted throughout in a lovely warm oatmeal carpet and adds the finishing touch to the interior.

The refurbishment works are now all complete and the property looks like a show home. Now we wait for the valuations from the estate agents.


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