Embarking on any renovation project is usually pretty exciting, but it can be a little daunting. There are usually a lot of things to think about. It can be quite tempting to leap in there with a sledgehammer, clearing the decks for your new ideas to take shape. But hold your horses! Working in the wrong order can cause real problems, so take a slightly more considered approach to keep everything on track.
The following order of works can be applied to most renovation projects.
1) Protect the building, and yourself. Keep the elements out to try and prevent any further decay. Take out buildings insurance, and public liability insurance is a good idea too.
2) Stabilise. Safety of the site is a priority, so assess the stability of the existing structure and take measures to avoid any further collapse before you can carry out your repairs. Depending on the state of your building, this might mean underpinning or piling work, insertion of steel tension rods to stop lateral spread, or the insertion of props or scaffolding.
3) Carefully strip and salvage. Now the fun begins! Make sure that you save anything of value, particularly any period features, that you can reuse or even sell.
4) Carry out the major building work. Floors, walls, roof, repointing, rendering…the list depends on your project, but plan carefully to ensure it all comes together correctly.
5) Weatherproof. Once the roof structure is complete, you need to make the structure weathertight. Install your doors and windows, or at the very least board up the holes.
6) First fix. Build internal stud walls, fix floorboards, door linings, window reveals and sills, and complete first fix plumbing and electric work.
7) Plaster. Apply plasterboard or dry-lining to walls and ceilings (or repair existing plaster if it can be saved). Lay any floor screeds.
8) Second fix. Lay floors, hang doors, fix skirting, box in services. Install the bathroom, kitchen, boiler and radiators. Complete painting, staining and tiling.
9) Decorate and enjoy! You should be ready for the finishing touches.
It’s worth mentioning that with any project, just as you think you’re done, there’s likely to be a list of things which need tidying up or addressing – the snag list. But if you do everything in the right order in the first place, this list should be fairly minimal and you can get on with enjoying your new space.