Home Improvements to Stairs and Flooring
Planning Your Home Improvements
Once you have decided to undertake a DIY project there is a huge temptation to jump straight in and get started, dealing with any necessary preparations as you encounter them. However, careful and lengthy planning before any work is begun should never be seen as a waste of time, but instead should be regarded as an integral part of the job. Proper thought will save time and tempers later on, allow the work to progress more smoothly and could reduce the costs in the long run.
One of the most important issues you need to consider at this planning stage is whether you intend to carry out all the work yourself or will need to hire professionals. Official planning approval may also be required, so you should consult your local authority at this stage and certainly before work commences. Other key questions you need to ask yourself are whether you have the tools, materials, funds, experience and commitment needed to see the work through?
Options for Change and Home Improvements
Floors and stairs are key structural and decorative features in a property and making changes in these areas can have a major impact on the overall appearance of your home. However, when planning changes you should consider carefully any original and period features that it would be better to retain. For example, things that will have attracted you to the property in the first place should be preserved. It is all too easy to over-modernize or renovate the original features out of existence. Remember that whilst you are doing this work for your own pleasure and enjoyment of the property you may well be wanting to sell it in the future.
There are now probably more choices when it comes to flooring than there have ever been.
Wall-to-wall carpeting has traditionally been the first choice for many people, both because it is soft underfoot and also because it provides additional insulation to any room, helping to create a cosy and inviting home environment. However, a good carpet can be expensive and may not be the best choice for high traffic areas or damp rooms such as bathrooms and kitchens. In these areas harder flooring materials will be better suited and many of these can be laid to a professional finish by a DIY enthusiast with only modest skills.
Quarry tiles are becoming an increasingly popular hard tile option, and although expensive they will add value to almost any home.
Vinyl sheet flooring has enjoyed continuous popularity since its introduction, with an ever increasing range of styles and colours now available.
Timber laminate flooring has seen a recent vogue and provides a tough surface that is relatively easy to lay and maintain. If you are fortunate enough to have well-maintained floorboards, then it is possible to stain,or paint your floorboards for an entirely new look with minimum capital outlay.
Whilst not strictly part of the floor itself a well chosen moulding or skirting will complement the flooring. Many newly built homes have rather small skirting boards with little or no decorative moulding. Changing this to match a laminate floor or picking out one of the colours in the floor covering is a simple but effective way to enhance the look of the flooring.
Stairs and Landing Options
Stairs too can be made to look completely different by often the cheapest and simplest of treatments. By making a few repairs, stripping the existing finish and applying a new finish such as stain or paint, an old staircase can often be completely rejuvenated – dark brown Victorian stairs will brighten up a treat with a few coats of stain or paint. A relatively easy way of altering the structure of a staircase, and opening up the stairway more to the rest of the house, is to replace solid handrail panelling with open balusters. Many of the large DIY stores are now offering a range of stair components such as balustrades, handrails and newels which can be installed by anyone with moderate skills to transform the look of a plain staircase. The landing too will benefit from the same treatment as the stairs and should always be considered in the overall scheme of stair renovation. For example, by continuing a balustrade along the upstairs landing you will ensure a unified look.
Foldawayor attic ladders are cheap and easy to install but are not stairways in the true sense. If the loft is to be used as a bedroom or other habitable room as defined in the , then a stronger and more permanent form of stairs will have to be installed. If at first it seems impossible to accommodate a stairway up to the loft, do not lose heart. Instead, seek professional advice and you will be surprised just what is possible. If the details on a new stairway are made to match the main staircase, then it will become part of the overall structure of the halms and will not look out of place or like a recent addition.