Saturday, May 10, 2008

Design Tips : Think Maintenance

When embarking on a DIY project, the first thing you want to do is jump in with a hammer and start making mess! But this usually means you will end up shopping for the elusive "money tree".

In other words, leaping before you have planned can be very costly!
There are many questions to be asked, and these can be grouped into four areas:
Practical, Budgetary, Aesthetic and Maintenance


Have you had the electrical wiring checked? Does it need replacing?This should be addressed at the beginning of a project as it can be an expensive task, usually not allowed for in your budget, so all sorts of problems start. It is important as faulty or worn old wiring can start house fires and be very dangerous to you and your family - as well as ruining all your new renovations!

Have you checked that the house is insulated? Do you need it? Can it be done?This can make your home more energy effecient. It is amazing how much heat is lost through your roof, ceiling and walls. Foil can be used under timber floor boards to reduce the cold air coming up through the ground and into the house. Fibre glass or wool batts can be placed into wall cavities if you are taking the linings off the walls to replace them.

Curtains also help with insulation at the windows, ensuring that each room has the ability to cover the windows at night reduces heat loss in the home.

Have you had the plumbing and drainage checked? Does it need replacing/repairing? Do you have any leaks in the roof or anywhere else?Ensure that your hot water cylinders are not costing you valuable dollars in wasted energy. If they are old and worn they are not efficient, replacing with a new one could save you money and provide more hot water. Check that your hot water pipes are lagged to reduce heat loss. Check for leaks, damp areas of floor or wall. Check guttering and downpipes, ensuring they all connect to the stormwater, and don't just drip onto your path.

Are the current heating and ventilation services adequate? Cost effective? And esthetically pleasing?

Does your open fire fill your house with smoke? Do you need your chimney cleaned or a new enclosed fireplace installed. Is airconditioning an easier option with the ability to heat and cool the room. Think about how much you spend on fuel ie wood, coal as well as the time in chopping and lugging it in as well as cleaning out the fire place, and compare it to electric heating or gas heating and see how they will work for you. You may be happy to stay as is but if you are about to renovate it is a good time to review heating and ventilation.

Do the floor boards creak? Are they of sound quality? Do they need replacing?

If you are going to change your floor coverings it is a great time to repair the floor underneath. Get rid of the creaking forever.

Timber floor boards look fantastic, but if they creak, they could drive you crazy, so make sure you check them out and repair and squeaky patches before you decide to sand and varnish them, especially those on the stair!

Does all the door hardware, window catches, the locks etc function? Need repair?

A simple task walk around with a pen and paper and check them all, list up the ones to repair, if it is more that 50% I would probably replace them all as the other 50% will probably break in the near future also. If you can't find keys to lock, call out the locksmith and get some cut.

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