Tools You Need if You’re Doing a House Renovation

Home restoration can be a cruel little demon, so I’ve taken the time to list the tools you need if you’re doing a house renovation, to make things that little bit easier.

Whether it’s a big project, or a smaller, easier project such as putting up some shelves and re-painting, these tools will really come in handy!

Voltage detector pen
These tools are very simple but very effective. I can’t even count the number of times me and Jay nearly touched a live wire that was hanging out the ceiling. When you put the end of the pen against the end of a wire, it flashes red to say that the wire is live, and you need to turn the electrics off. Saved us probably about 3/4 electric shocks. Well worth the money!

 

 

A drill
We used a drill for all sorts: building a stud wall, attaching the skirting, creating a shelf at the top end of the bath, bring floorboards up, fixing floorboards back down.

Scraper
Another simple tool that has LOADS of uses. Not only was it good for stripping wallpaper, but also for smoothing caulk into crevices, for mixing cement/paint in buckets. Even for removing ridges in the windowsills before painting them.

tools you need if you're doing a house renovation

Mitre Saw
This is a bit of a weird one, and not something that most people would have just sitting in their garage, but this tool was invaluable to us. We used it to cut down our wooden flooring and our skirting boards. It cuts things with absolute precision and doesn’t splinter the wood too much.

tools you need if you're doing a house renovation

In some cases, these tools could help you avoid house renovation disasters. They might even save your life one day and so are well worth the investment, especially if you’re doing the work yourself rather than hiring tradesmen. Those are my top tools you need if you’re doing a house renovation.

What would you say are the tools you need if you’re doing a house renovation? Are there any you think I should add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

 

How to avoid house renovation disasters

Our house renovation did not always go to plan, so here are some tips on how to avoid house renovation disasters. Hopefully, I can help a few people out, and they can avoid making the same mistakes that we did.

Making a stud wall

We ‘found’ an old doorway that had clearly been boarded up a few years ago. Our house must have originally had a hallway, and this would have been the door that ran from the back of the hall into the kitchen. It had been boarded up with chipboard which couldn’t be plastered over.

This set us back a couple of weeks as Jay had to make a stud wall himself, which he had never done before. It would have been fluke to get it right first time, so it had to come down and be built again. Luckily, Jay had learnt from his mistake and got it perfect the second time, using the right tools

The floor had to be levelled twice

With a house, know that nothing is going to be straight. Literally, none of our walls are straight, and our floors weren’t level enough for the wooden flooring in the kitchen. It also didn’t help that cement had been used to glue the tiles to the floor.

When Jay was lifting them up, a huge metre-wide chunk of concrete came up with the tiles. This had to be filled in with concrete, and then the floor was properly levelled.

But even after one ‘go’ of levelling it wasn’t level, so we had to do it again.

avoid house renovation disasters for mess

Photo by Nolan Issac on Unsplash

Some of the plastering had to be redone

Thanks to our wonky walls, the plastering was done twice to try and level them out. Some walls were fine to be left, but our chimney breast was visibly out of line. It was re-plastered to bring it straight with the other side.

This doesn’t sound like a big job, but it meant we had to wait another week for it to dry before we could emulsion the walls.

Some of our skirting didn’t even touch parts of the wall, because it was so out of line, so we had to fill this in afterwards with caulk.

The radiators went on before the skirting board

This is a logistics problem that no one thought through. It wasn’t too much of a problem. It just meant me and Jay were on our hands and knees with a laser level. We had to get the skirting cut straight and then nailed on correctly.

Top tip to avoid house renovation disasters: try and paint the skirting before it goes on the walls. If you have a workbench, balance the skirting on it and prime and gloss it. It might take a couple of days, but when the skirting is on the wall, it’s difficult to paint it accurately whilst crawling on the floor. I did get some on the freshly-painted walls (ssh, don’t tell Jay).

Always leave a toilet in when renovating the bathroom

Even if you have to plumb it in again at the end of every day, it’s crucial that you leave the toilet in. I had to use my neighbours’ for around 8 weeks. Luckily, we weren’t living there full time, and Jay often used my flower beds instead (thanks).

Photo by Paco S on Unsplash

Keep every single receipt

The amount of money we have probably wasted because we wanted to take something back, that we didn’t use, is probably ridiculous.

Luckily, places such as Wickes have a six-month return policy, so you still have time to find that receipt even four months later.

If you’re lazy, it’s best to stockpile things that need to go back, so you can do it in one trip.

I hope these tips on how to avoid house renovation disasters helps you somewhat! Really think about the order of things logically to avoid making things more difficult for yourself. You wouldn’t put the flooring in and then paint the ceiling!

Any other tips you’d add? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

The Bathroom Reveal: Before and After

A few days ago, we had the Living Room reveal, but now we have the bathroom reveal!

The bathroom was one of the biggest jobs. We weren’t actually planning on changing it  right away. But a leaking soil pipe, and the need to get access to the wiring under the floorboards, meant the whole thing had to come out. But finally here is the bathroom reveal:

Before

The family who lived here previously seemed to like this pine cladding that was everywhere. It was up the stairs, in the lounge, and clearly in the bathroom.

The bathroom reveal - before

Of course, it could have been hiding any sort of problems, but lucky for us, there was no leak (apart from the pesky soil pipe) and no hidden horrors.

We have kept the layout very much the same. The toilet, sink and bath all remain in the same place, as does the radiator (to the right of the camera).

We haven’t kept ANYTHING from this room. Not even the toilet roll holder or the lights.

After

The bathroom reveal - after

 

 

 

 

 

We opted for creams and browns to keep a warm feel to it. These photos were taken a few months ago, so we’ve since put an extractor fan where that wire is hanging out of the wall.

I’m looking for some trailing ivy that can hang down the windowsill and really brighten up the room.

I adore our sink. It was so expensive but so worth it. I love the shape of it, and how much storage there is on the inside. The door has soft close too which is a luxury.

We’ve left a bit of space at the end of the bath for a product holder (a nice one!) like this one from The White Company

I also love that our bath is double-ended, again a bit of a luxury: I preferred the style and the look of them. I also adore our waterfall taps which finish off the whole thing.

It still looks a bit bare, but eventually we’ll fill it up with towel rails and bathrobes. It’ll feel much more home-y.

So there you have it, our bathroom reveal.

Look out for the kitchen/diner reveal, coming soon!

We’ve Moved In!

The day has finally come, and we’ve moved in to our new house.

I’m sharing some pictures with you, even though it’s still very messy, and we still have a LOT of sorting out to do because WE’VE MOVED IN. I can’t believe how instantly at home me and Jay felt: I thought it would be weird, and wouldn’t feel like our house, but we settled in so quickly.

I suppose that’s because we’ve been doing work on it for six months. Being here every day for that amount of time has obviously got us used to the place.

Our first night here was on Saturday. I don’t think either of us slept particularly well on a new mattress, and in a new place. The water tank makes an unusual ticking noise (and it’s in our bedroom) and the road is quite noisy in the mornings. I’ve always lived in a cul-de-sac, so I’m not used to the sound of cars whizzing by in the morning.

We have scrubbed the whole place, I’ve been hoovering every day, and we always have a number of visitors every afternoon. They’re all excited to see it after all the work and money we’ve put in.

So, onto the pictures!

This is right by the front door. As you come in, the stairs are in front of you, and the sideboard is to the right.

living room with sofa and lighting

This is the lounge. The front door is behind the sofa, as is the sideboard above.

You go through the lounge into the kitchen diner. The whole of downstairs is open plan, with only an archway separating the dining room and living room.

moved in to our house

As you might have guessed, by the green carpet, we haven’t touched the two big bedrooms upstairs. And the bed/bedding is going ASAP too.

The small bedroom is being turned into my office. It currently has the same floor as the kitchen, but no wallpaper/paint.

 

It still needs a lot of work. The next job is to dig a trench for drainage that means we can put a washing machine in the garage. We’d also like to tackle the outside of the house before we start on the bedrooms.

At the moment we can only get one car on the drive because of the plants. It would be good to flatten the whole thing, and then get two cars on. At least we’re moved in though!

Finished wooden laminate flooring and carpet!

This week saw the arrival of wooden laminate flooring and carpet, and I can’t believe we’ve got all the flooring fitted in the whole house.

I wasn’t expecting to get any wooden laminate flooring down in my study for a while, but we had lots of leftover from the kitchen.

This was such a bonus: we’d already spent the money, so didn’t feel like we were spending any more in doing it. The carpet was already up because we’d had to get access underneath the floorboards for wiring. Our carpet went in last Tuesday, and we decided to get the flooring in before then. I didn’t want Jay tramping up and down the stairs, all over our new carpet, carrying bits of newly-cut wood.

It only took him two days, and that included the time to put the new skirting board on too.

 

wooden laminate flooring

 

The wooden laminate flooring should be hardwearing, and easy to clean. But it also looks lovely, and was so easy to fit!

The Carpet

We bought the carpet back in February. Luckily, we just had to phone the company to book in the carpet two weeks before we wanted it fitted.

The fitters were amazing, and were only there two and a half hours. They carpeted our lounge, our stairs and our landing in that time.

I can’t believe the transformation. It finishes the whole look of the house/lounge, however it does make the green carpet in our bedroom look 10 times worse. We’ll just be keeping the doors closed until we renovate our bedroom.

 

 

It all looks very grey in there, but the walls are more of a brown/grey, so it makes the room feel warm. The carpet is also a two-tone brown and cream. I was worried about grey and white making the room feel too cold, even though I love it as a combination.

You can see in this post how much more brown the carpet looks in the picture (that is our actual carpet). I want to add some greenery. Perhaps in the curtains, or in cushions on the sofa, to give a really comfortable, earthy feel. 

Thinking Ahead

Something that I’ve learnt a lot through this project has been prioritising. Sometimes, certain important jobs take priority, and you have to spend your money on those things first. Even though you really want to buy that console table you’ve seen online.

We spent a lot of money on the things in our house that you can’t see. Wiring, plastering, floor levelling, plumbing, etc. This is frustrating. Because you can’t see it, you feel like it was a waste of money, even though it obviously needed doing. We wanted to do things properly and not skimp on anything urgent.

We’ve even laid the plumbing, whilst the floorboards were up anyway, just in case we decide to switch to a combi boiler in the near future. This means we wouldn’t have to pull up the carpet and install pipes. All we’d have to do is get a new boiler and connect it. Even though it’s cost us money now, it’ll save us a huge job when we do want to replace the boiler. Ours is 11 years old, and *whispers* probably won’t last much longer.

We’re at that stage where everything is now cosmetic improvement. This means I can start buying rugs, curtains, mirrors, art work. Nice things!