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If you are interested in undertaking a large DIY self build project, you can try to remodel or refurbish your home. While some people go to the extent of trying to self build their own home, a more manageable construction project would be a remodeling effort.
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All this advice is given without warranty and we advise getting professional advice at all times, prior to work. Especially engineering reports on loads for attics, roofs, extensions etc as these can collapse if done badly.
Drainage is also an issue as sometimes drains will run under your property or the garden without you knowing. These cannot be loaded from above without taking precautions. Also floods onsite are very expensive so make sure your plumbing is sound.
Electrical and power supply work is particularly dangerous as electricity can kill.
All utilities work has to be signed off by a registered professional so start properly and you will not be shocked - literally - by any unexpected mishaps!
Many times we feel that we could use an extra room or two. Families grow, needs change and we may want to add an extension to our house.
This could be an interesting project to attempt on your own provided you have some prior construction experience. At the least you must be proficient in handling tools and have a flair for understanding the concepts of shape and form. The ability to decipher drawings would further help your construction efforts. And don't forget to always take professional advice before you start.
Before adding an extension to the house, you need to understand a little about the existing building and the kind of construction used. You would want to know the types of materials used, the nature of the foundations of the building. Then you will understand how best to add your extension to the building so that it becomes a cohesive part of the current building rather than sticking out like a sore thumb.
Knowing more about the existing structure would also help in making the extension fit well with the original building. Otherwise, it would be like the case of putting a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment - it is bound to pull away from the old garment and make the tear worse.
This is quite a technical area and we recommend getting professional advice from a surveyor or architect, as houses do not usually have any documentation, especially older houses.
Above: Scaffolding needed for building work arrives on lorry
An addition to the house can also be in the form of a roof attic. You can build the attic without a mansard to keep things simple. But if you have prior experience in building attics, you can also try building one with a mansard.
A mansard roof is one that changes the roof form to make a box shape, rather than leaving the roof intact and having a triangluar form. Obviously a mansard increses the ceiling height in the attic loft room, and so creates a more 'normal' usable space. So add a mansard if you want a master bedroom or proper room space. It will add more value to your house.
However an office, hobby, den or storage room, or a spare room, can be made in the loft without adding a mansard.
Often this type of space might not use proper stairs, but use a pull down ladder. Many types of these ladders are available at low cost. They must be securely and safely fitted.
This is getting popular in London as land prices are so high. A whole new floor can be added underneath a building. The rooms might seem a little dark but light wells can be added, which allow natural light in at the sides. Or solar tubes or sun pipes can be used. The rooms can be media rooms, offices or bathrooms where full daylight might not be so important. Costs in UK are about £1000 per square metre, before you get too excited. There are big engineering issues due to water, soild pressure and the presence of existing foundations and the house above. Again, don't just start digging, get professional advice.
If you are proficient in handing glass and wooden frames, you can build a conservatory as an extension to one of the rooms. This could be an excellent way to bring sunlight and warmth into the home. Also a conservatory opens up the home to the beautiful scenery outdoors (assuming that is the case).
To extend the outdoor experience even further, you can step outside and build awnings as an extension from one of the walls of the house. These can be made from wood as well as aluminum, or a variety of low weight materials.
There are even DIY self build project kits that help you make retractable awnings too.
Another interesting project. Since visual appearance is not always a concern with garages it is a good place to start. They can even be built without windows, which makes building even easier. Ventilation is important and obviously water proofing. Be careful to ensure your current vehicle and future upgrades will fit, or you will have to expand it later.
As with all these projects, professional plans and engineer's reports are required.
See our page on garages >
Further outdoor projects could include building a patio for the home or decking it with appropriate decking materials. A patio is an invaluable addition to the home where the family can spend time during the day, lazing around in the sun. You can also add a garage to the house. You can either build it with wood or make it a complete masonry or concrete block construction.
Coming back into the house, you can work on the internal walls of the building. You can remodel the house by moving walls around and making more space. You can also move stairs to different locations for easier accessibility. You can add new doors and windows for your rooms too.
You can either build a new kitchen, by gutting or removing all of the old one, or remodel your existing one. The kitchen is one room that lends itself well to remodeling and redecoration. You can also remake garden space for a small kitchen garden outdoors.
With a little imagination and a lot of creativity, you can do wonders to your existing home.