Advice

Summer home improvement projects

Double glazing for energy saving

The thought of replacing windows during the winter is not a happy one, making it our number one summer home improvement job.

Windows are responsible for the majority of the heat lost from your home. Heavy curtains help, but, replacing single glazed windows with B-rated double glazing could save you around £165 per year on your energy bills and should last around 20 years (figures from The Energy Saving Trust). Aluminium, steel and uPVC window frames can be recyclable and require little or no maintenance, unlike wooden frames which will need to be painted every 10 years to protect them. In many cases these can be used in conservation areas where windows need to be replaced with like-for-like wooden frames.

Sash windows by Mumford and Wood

Upgrading all the windows in your house may not be a small or inexpensive project, but you will notice the results instantly: your energy bills will be reduced and draughts almost eradicated. A uPVC window unit costs from £350 fitted and a door from £550, making the total costs of double glazing a 3-bedroom house from £5000. A conservatory and window specialist will be able to advise, source and fit windows for you – this is a job for the experts.

Gone are the days of one size fits all double glazing that was, quite frankly, ugly. Glazing companies have woken up to the fact that homeowners want windows that are in keeping with the décor and period of their property. Whether they are small Georgian panes or sash windows, there are now wooden options available. While aesthetically wooden units are more pleasing to the eye, have a lower environmental impact and last up to 50 years (compared to the 20 year life-span of uPVC), they are more expensive (a wooden double glazed sash window unit costs around £700 ) and will require regular maintenance – but worth every penny!

Roofing repairs while there’s no rain in the air

Repairs and maintenance are easily ignored, this is often because you can’t see the areas which require attention. There’s a good chance, however, that your roof will have suffered some damage over the winter months from wind, rain, freezing and thawing and need to be patched up ready for the next winter instalment.

If you’re happy to climb a ladder it’s worth taking a look at your soffits and fascias (where your house and roof meet), checking that you haven’t lost any tiles and looking for any potential holes that will leak when the first winter storm hits. By conducting regular maintenance you’ll be able to spot any repair jobs that need to be done, before they turn into a larger project.

General/annual maintenance should include:

1. Clearing any leaves and debris that will block the gutters and stop water draining away, resulting in damp and damage to brick work

2. Trimming trees near the roof will prevent debris building up in the guttering and limit wildlife’s access to your roof – wildlife damage is the worst kind!

If you don’t want to spend a Sunday afternoon up a ladder it’s a good idea to employ a roofer to conduct the annual maintenance work, they’ll be able to spot any problems and often fix them there and then. Fixing these small running repairs could save yourself money in the long term, and if you have neglected your roof for too long and a large scale repair is needed, summer is an ideal time to get it done.

Steve Haywood of Haywood’s Roofing

Extend the life of your exterior paint jobs

When the summer finally arrives you will want a painter at the ready. Unless you’re an experienced DIYer, leave this job to the pros! The facade of your house and wooden window frames need to be painted about every 10 years. Hiring a professional painter/decorator to paint the exterior of your house is an expensive project, but if you employ an expert – with the skills and the tools to properly prepare and paint the surfaces – the results will look better and last longer.

In some cases you may not need to paint the whole building, by conducting running repairs you can extend the life span of exterior paint by up to a couple of years. Low temperatures and direct hot sun (not a huge worry in the UK) can ruin a paint job, therefore late spring is the perfect time to paint!

Get your garden into the Jubilee spirit

The good news is that there is still time to get your garden in gear for the Jubilee weekend. Hard landscaping includes: patios, decking, fencing, ponds and paths. These are the jobs that need to be tackled before you plant your perennials (AKA the soft landscaping).

Like major changes to your house, if you want to redesign your garden you may need to obtain planning permission. This can vary between removal of protected trees to installing a structure such as a summer house – a landscaper will be able to find out whether you need planning permission.  Landscaping and gardening differ in that you can expect to pay an upfront fixed price for a landscaping project whereas garden maintenance is typically charged at an hourly rate.

Decking is becoming increasingly popular for those seeking a low maintenance outdoor space and can even add value to your property. Homeowners are often surprised to hear that they may require planning permission for decking and it’s best to check first or else you could have to remove it at your own time and expense. Ask yourself these questions before you start your project: do you want to enjoy a sunny day time spot, or an area to catch the last rays of sun on summer evenings? Do you want to use it for entertaining, dinning or simply relaxing? An expert landscaper will be able to design your deck with their experience and your requirements in mind.

Image from House to Home

Most of us enjoy a spot of gardening, but how many of us actually have time to tend to our gardens? Hiring a gardener to do the arduous gardening tasks, such as pruning hedges and trees, means your garden will be kept in order so you can spend your time planting red, white and blue flowers – not pulling weeds!

You can get your house up to royal standards in time for the Queen’s Jubilee by posting your home improvement jobs on RatedPeople.com. We have 1000’s of tradesmen across the UK, who have been reviewed by over 150,000 previous customers,  ready and waiting to take on your summer home improvement jobs. 

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