July 4th, 2020 in

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Painting on ceramic tiles: renew walls, floors and countertops

Tiles are generally long-lasting and durable. Though they have a larger lifetime, tiles tend to collect dirt and scum that makes the unpleasant over time. Replacing the tile isn’t the only option. You can simply paint on tiles.

The accumulation of soap scum and carbon residue will make them look bad over time. You might get bored with the colour of the tile over the years. Or looking for new tile options to match the colour scheme of your newly renovated bathroom or kitchen.

That can be achieved by painting over the tiles. While painting on ceramic is not a common practice, it is definitely do-able and comes with certain manageable limitations. Painting on tiles and ceramic countertops is a cheap DIY home improvement technique that can save money compared to the replacement of the same.

 

Can you paint on tiles?

Tiles can be painted with whatever colour and whatever finish if gone through proper preparation. It is the best alternative to re-tiling that can be done cheap. The quality of preparation matters to how long and how strong the paint will last on ceramic. Because tiles are naturally very smooth and glazy which is not ideal for painting.

The choice of paints, primer and other tools also contribute to the process. The target is to use the right choice of paint over the rightly prepared tile to get the desired results.

 

Benefits of tile painting

  • You need not shell out a lot of money removing and laying a new tile to match the colour scheme of your house. The ceramic tile painting costs per square foot is $4 to $10 which is 4 times or lesser than the cost of re-installation.
  • Give a new look to the floor/wall and eventually to the whole room.
  • Unlimited choice of colour on tiles.
  • Cover cracks and dings on the tiles.
  • Extend the life of tiles by painting over it.

 

Limitations of paint on ceramic

  • However high the quality of paints used in the process, it can’t withstand certain conditions like moisture and heat. The paint tends to peel off or chip when exposed to such condition.
  • Even the normal friction caused by walking over painted tile is a factor of the reduced lifetime of painting over tile.
  • Might decrease the value of the house when reselling.
  • Shorter lifespan. Mind that, painted tiles are not going to last equal to a new tile. You are subjected to spend on the tile sooner but the cost of tile painting for two times combined is still cheaper than a professional re-tiling. Plus, you get to change the looks of the tiles now and then rather than getting bored with the tile’s baked-in colour throughout the life of it.

 

How to paint on tiles?

Painting over a ceramic tile though follows the same basics, requires a lot of time and attention to detail. Failing to do would result in peeling of paint from the tile sooner than expected.

So do not take any step lightly especially the preparation stage. You will need to undergo multiple stages of tile cleaning to look as new.

 

Clean the tiles:

Clean the tile from dirt and residue that it has accumulated over time. It will be a disturbance for the paint to stick to the ceramic if not cleaned properly. Often tiles in kitchen accumulate greasy residue and those in the bathroom and cleaning area has soapy scum. Use heavy-duty cleansers like TSP (Trisodium Phosphate). Apply the mixture of half cup of TSP to a gallon of water on the tile and let that react for a few mins. Now scrub if required and wipe off everything with a sponge. Rinse twice or more with water until no residue is left. You might want to follow a different procedure if you see grout stains left out.

Repair the tiles:

Now look deep for cracks or breaks in the tiles. You need an even surface for the best application of ceramic paint. Fill in the cracks with caulk and replace the ones that are not repairable. Make sure to take off the left-over caulk filling on the surface.

Repairing the tiles

Sand the tiles:

Sanding the tile is very important for the paint to stick on it. Tiles by default have a glaze that resists any kind of liquid to be stuck to it. Sanding not only rubs of the adamant scum accumulated, but it also weathers the glazing creating a slightly rougher surface for the paint to hold. Use 220 grit or finer sandpaper by hand or use an electric sander if possible. Do not sand with force as a slight removal of glazing is enough. Making the surface rough like the sandpaper itself will ruin the finish. Sanding creates a lot of dust and left-over particles all over. Wipe them with a wet cloth or sponge.

Wipe clean:

Rinse the wall again with water and leave it to dry. Wipe a small portion of the ceramic with tack clock. If you still find it unclean repeat step 1 again. Wait for at least 48 hours before you start with the painting process.

Apply primer:

It’s time for the primer. Apply high-quality epoxy-based acrylic primer over the tile. Start with the brush to cover edges and grout and use a good quality lint-free roller in the main area. Do two coats of primer allowing time in-between for proper drying. If you can still see the original tile colour, give it another coat.

Paint the tile:

Finally, it is the turn to paint. Paint the completely dried primer coated ceramic. Tile paints are usually thicker than usual paints. You might want to add a little thinner to get a consistency that is ideal for painting on a roller without forming bubbles. Like with primer, cover the edges with a paintbrush and rest with the roller. Paint too require a double coat. Try to cover up lines created by the roller edges and paintbrush during the final coat.

Tip: Use an artist brush to paint the grout with a contrasting or accent colour. It takes a lot of time and patience to do but will give you great results.

Urethane coat

To finish it off give it a urethane coat after the paint dries. Apart from providing a lint-free gloss it also prevents from chipping off the paint layer to an extent.

The time taken to paint the tile might range from 3 days to one week depending on the time taken to dry between each process. You need to wait for another 2 weeks for the multiple layers of paint to settle and dry to the core. Leave it untouched till then for the best results. Also, get ready with an alternative till then if you are planning to paint your bathroom or kitchen wall tile.

 

What tile paint should you buy?

You can find paints that are made specifically for tiles and ceramic with almost any manufacturer. It is usually latex-based acrylic paint with a mix of epoxy. These paints are originally designed to be rolled or brushed.

You can also find advanced paints that are purposed for fibre, glass and other smoother materials that can also be used on ceramics. Some of the special paints might require spraying which will increase the cost. Valspar Terracotta Touch is a special paint which adds texture along with the colour.

 

Precautions

  • Cover the portions adjoining the tile area, be it a cabinet, door or window so that the paint does not affect any of those accidentally.
  • Use high-quality gloves, apron to prevent yourself from paint. These primer and paints are a bit harder to get off your skin.
  • A paint mask is recommended to safeguard from the various smells and dust during the process.

 

Tile painting alternatives:

Bathtub and shower area: these are highly abused with moisture and soap scum. It can wear off the paint over the tile quicker than expected. If you are looking for renewing these areas industrial-grade refinishing is a better option that goes cheaper than replacement cost. Something more than paints are used in the process which might limit the choice of colours.

Kitchen countertop: Heated vessels, water and knife cuts are common for kitchen counter which is why it is not ideal to paint it. But you can still get away with it by using a cutting board over it whenever required and not placing hot vessels directly.

New tile over the existing: You can directly lay new tiles over the existing one with or without using a backer board depending on the condition of existing ones. Though it will only save a small fraction of tile replacement cost, it is easy to do.

 

Painting on tile is a great alternative when you have budget constraints. It also is a great option to explore new looks all by yourself.

I would classify the painting floor and wall tile a hobby project. You can essentially do it if you have time for learning the process and doing it yourself. The budget can be as low as 1,000 dollars.

Regarding designs, you are no more limited with plain colours with contrasting lines. Your imagination is the limit. Check out some of the fancy floor tile painting ideas I found on Pinterest.

Want more insights into the renovation game? Book your free one-to-one training session with me.

July 4th, 2020 in

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What renovation can you do with $20k in 2020? Budget renovation ideas

You can get a lot of things done with just $20,000 in your pocket. You can even do a complete home makeover if you spend it the right way. But all of our needs are not the same.

Some would like a whole refresh, while some require a deep bathroom renovation and others might want an extra bedroom. And the rest would simply look for opportunities to boost the house value with minimal expense on their investment property.

Whatever category you fall in, there are enough budget renovation ideas you can choose from. All you need to know is how to renovate within the budget.

 

How much does house renovation cost?

An average full house renovation in Australia costs between $40,000 and $200,000 at the renovation cost of $2,500 to $4,000 per square metre. It is around the same in the US.

Comparing these numbers, the said budget of $20,000 might seem smaller. But you can renovate a lot more than you think. You can even do significant changes to your house with just $5k. You just need to be wise about where you spend the money. More on that later.

Home is one of the prized possessions and the biggest investments we ever do. To maintain the value of it, for an investment property or the home you reside, renovation from time to time helps.

A well-maintained home not only translates to good money when sold but also adds to your value in every other means. So, it is always worth spending on house renovation.

The renovation cost of every part of the home is going to be overwhelming at first glance. Once you start researching, planning and micromanaging you can surely do wonders within the 20k budget.

House renovation budget

What renovations can you do with $20,000? Renovation under $20,000

As said earlier, the possibilities to renovate under $20,000 is countless. It is the needs and the best value for money that makes all the difference. So before knowing what can be done, you must know what kind of changes you want for your home.

The needs can range from anything to just repainting to doing a complete changeover. We can’t say what you need. But we can help you find what you need and make it more achievable within the budget.

Try answering the below questions to narrow down your needs,

What type of property you are looking to renovate? – Your primary house or investment property. Be it flipping the property or rental investments you can look for value for money investment. Why because increasing house value for rental property too will get you a long-term client with good rental income. On the other hand, residential renovation projects revolve around adding comfort, safety, etc.

What kind of renovation are you looking at? – an overall appeal, improving particular space (kitchen, bathroom, landscape, etc) or adding space. This can clearly give an idea of where to concentrate on.

Do you have anything to be repaired or mended? You need to look for leaking pipes, aging roofs before even considering renovation work.

 

bathroom renovation

Here are some of the options that you can choose based on your needs:

Once you are clear with the needs, let’s go renovation plan hunting. Do a lot of research, look for inspiration of tried and tested plans. There are a lot of renovations on the internet and on TV shows. Keep in mind, TV shows often skip the margin that the builders charge over the labour and material cost. So, add 15-20% over it to get the final price.

Here are some of the interesting renovation ideas under $20,000 I have done myself or found on the internet,

  • Bathroom renovation: $20,000 is an easy budget for bathroom renovation. In most cases, you won’t even need to cut corners if you are spending 20k on the bathroom alone.
  • Kitchen renovation: The same goes for kitchen renovation. You can easily cover most of the needs including cupboard refinish, tile work, countertop.
  • Kitchen and bathroom renovation: This is where the budget is going to be a constraint. The normal split up would be 65% for the fund for the kitchen and the rest directed towards the bathroom. You can change it based on your needs. But remember you don’t get to replace everything. You will have to compromise like painting the countertop instead of replacing and changing the shower screen and resurfacing the bathtub instead of swapping for a new one.
  • Adding a bedroom: That’s a common occurrence especially when the family starts to grow. You might have to skip on the long-planned kitchen renovation to accommodate the extra person. Doing it within 20k you will have to look for existing opportunities to build a new room. In the attic, below the stairs are some great places to start.
  • Taking down a wall: Taking down a non-load-bearing wall that has been a divider that doesn’t affect the structure will make the home spacious instantly and effortlessly. You don’t need to spend the full budget even. Taking down can be done even at $5,000. These kinds of projects work wonders in investment properties as you get high ROI in terms of the house value.
  • Overall house makeover: Wondering how to do a full home makeover with as little as $20k. Your doubts are valid. You can cause significant changes to your home without breaking the budget. Here is Cherrie Barber from renovating for profit doing a home makeover for 20k under 5 days.

 

What else do you need to know if you are working with the 20k budget for a home renovation?

The biggest factor that will help you achieve big within the budget is putting in your time. You have to put in your time and effort to shape the renovation project. How far you spend time planning, that sure you can be at finishing the project on time and within budget. So do not skip on the pre-construction stages.

Another way to improve the efficient spending of your money is DIY. You can save a good chunk of labour by doing some simple DIY work like painting or tiling. Do note DIY can cost blowouts too. So, take proper practise and get into action only if you are sure about it.

The contingency fund is the next thing you need to aware of. Though the budget is not big, I recommend having at least 10% of contingency fund especially when you are doing complex renovation gigs.

Insurance can save you from some blowouts. Do not fear to direct a little of the fund towards insurances.

Permits and approvals are necessary for renovation projects that require structural alteration or house extension. Check for the requirement of development approval with your local council.

Grants help you expand your budget. Right now, there are two major grants that you need to check.

HomeBuilder Scheme (valid till Dec 31st 2020)

Early access to Superannuation fund (valid till Sept 24th 2020)

 

Signing off

So, that’s the short brief of renovating under the 20k budget. You will develop questions and confusions when you are in the research phase. Check out our step by step guide on how to renovate your bathroom for more clarity.

We all so have other articles covering DIY and renovation if you are interested in.

Remember the possibilities are endless.

June 28th, 2020 in

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Early access to super fund for renovation: why should you consider it?

 

The federal government recently announced temporary early access to your super fund for a limited time. Though it is in two instalments of $10,000 and there is a confusing eligibility criterion, everyone can access it easily. I and my wife had our first instalment out recently.

Superannuation funds are forced savings created by the government to help you after retirement. The government rarely allows early access of super fund. Thanks to the pandemic, at least you get access to the super fund.

The news is pretty old and most might have known about it already. But here is my view on it and how it can help your home renovation/construction project. As I am a construction expert and not from the finance department, you need to take everything with a pinch of salt.

Financial experts keep advising against touching your super fund. Is it really worth to wait 20 more years to get hands-on your super? Is it worth investing the money into your home? Come let’s find answers.

 

COVID-19 early access to Superannuation fund:

One of the many financial aids that have been flowing in due to the COVID-19 pandemic is the temporary early access to the Superannuation fund. Both the permanent and temporary of Australia and New Zealand residents are eligible.

While it is definitely going to help people, who lost their job or had their business shut, many are planning other uses for the same.  Investing in property is wise if you do it right. More on that after going through the process of getting your super fund out.

The temporary early access comes in two instalments of $10,000. Once for the financial year 2019-2020 which you have to apply before 30th June 2020. You can apply between July 1st to September 24th to get the rest $10,000 for the upcoming 2020-2021.

There is more to it. You are not required to pay any tax for the amount withdrawn from the super and the application process is totally free. So, if you get an email or phone asking to pay for COVID-19 early access, you can be sure it isn’t legit.

early access to super fund

Eligibility to access super fund:

The eligibility criterion is where most get confused. Don’t worry we have got it simplified for you. The criteria are going to be different for permanent residents and temporary residents.

Permanent residents and citizen of Australia and New Zealand

You need to fulfil at least one of the three conditions:

  1. unemployed.
  2. You are eligible for any of these benefit schemes.
    • Jobseeker payment
    • Youth Allowance for Jobseekers
    • Parenting payments
    • Special benefit
    • Farm Household Allowance.
  1. Met this condition on or after January 1st 2020
    • You were made redundant
    • Working hours reduced by 20% or greater.
    • Your sole ownership business was suspended or facing a reduction of 20% or more in turnover.

 

Temporary residents

If you are a temporary resident you must be rushing to get your COVID-19 super early release. Because you can only avail it for the 2019-2020 year. Yes, that means you have to act fast and apply on or before June 30th 2020.

You need to be under one or more of the circumstances listed below:

  • Hold a student visa for more than 12 months and unable to meet immediate living expenses.
  • Have a temporary skilled worker visa, employed and yet unable to meet immediate living expenses.
  • Temporary Visa holder other than the above two and unable to meet immediate living expenses.

If your Temporary VISA has expired during the COVID-19 period you can make use of the Departing Australia Super Payment (DASP) for returning to your country.

 

How to apply for COVID-19 early super access?

The application process is carried over at ATO online services with myGOV. So, you require a myGov account to apply for the early access of superannuation fund.

Things you need to know before applying for the superannuation early access.

  • Know your current super balance before applying. Because applying for higher values will lead to application rejection.
  • You can only apply once per financial year under the COVID-19 early access scheme. That is, once before June 30th and once after. Even if you don’t apply for the full $10,000 the first time you don’t have a chance of applying again. So, decide well in advance before filing your application.
  • You can apply under the COVID-19 early access even if you have accessed your super the same year under any other scheme.
  • You can apply for a total of $10,000 from more than on super funds. If you have two super funds you can access $7,000 from one and $3,000 from other by applying once.
  • Check your insurances linked with the super fund. You might lose it based on the left-out balance after early access to super.
  • You are required to have your Australian bank account to withdraw super. There is no way around it.
  • If you are super is with the State-administered fund, Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) or Exempt Public Sector Super Scheme (EPSSS), make sure they allow early access before applying.
  • For ATO-held super, you need to move it to super fund first before applying under the COVID-19 scheme.

You won’t be able to change information like contact details and bank account information. So double-check on those before submitting your application.

 

The COVID-19 early super access application process:

  • Create a myGov account and link to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
  • You will find the application available within the portal.
  • Apart from entering the required information, you will have to answer a few questions regarding your current state which will be a deciding factor for application approval.

Once your application is approved your super fund will reach your account within 5 days. The time taken for early super access application approval is also quick.

 

Can I get early access to super fund?

I know the application process seems overwhelming. In reality, it isn’t that hard.

I went through the application process myself. I and my wife applied for the early access of super fund and have got it credited in our bank account. It was a usual application process followed by a series of multiple-choice questions answered.

In my opinion, most of us are eligible for early access. I am no expert in this field, but if you require money just give it a try.

Now that we know everything about how to get your super fund during the pandemic, let’s discuss should you access it right now and what should you use it for.

 

Home improvement as an Investment

Should you spend your super fund for home improvement?

Let me start by taking my scenario as a case study. As I already said we (me and my wife) got early access to our super fund for the year 2019-2020. We are planning to spend it on the new home that we are in the process of construction right now.

For those wondering why to take the extra money when I have everything planned and going right, here is my answer. Though I take some of the important roles in the construction process, there is still a lot that needs to be paid.

This additional $40,000 (20,000 from each of us) can allow room for some significant additions like the addition of swimming pool or upgrading the finishes to luxury ones. There is a possibility of improvising on something that might add value to the house for the years to come.

I am no financial expert, but with my experience in the construction field, money spent on construction can make returns, either directly or indirectly which is why I would like to count it as an investment.

Not just for investment properties, even for your own residences, the $20,000 budget can make a lot of difference.

 

What are the consequences of accessing the super before retirement?

I know there are a lot of debates going on already especially involving financial experts. They claim ‘a wholesome amount of $20,000 withdrawn from the super fund by a 25-year-old could contribute to $64,000 during their retirement. So, it is not wise to access it right now for depreciating goods like cars and big-screen TVs.’

I agree to most of it. But my argument is that you should see spending on your home is an investment. Even a small expense of $5,000 can boost your home’s market value by a significant amount. Or it might help you materialize a home extension project you were thinking for a long time.

After all, home is one of the biggest investments that most of us make in our lifetime.

I suggest now is the right time to do all kinds of home improvement work. Here is why.

 

Why is this the right time to do home improvement work?

With all due respect, with everything going around the pandemic right now, I wouldn’t say now is the best time for construction work. It is ideal to do home improvement work if you are in the thought of it.

Firstly, there are a lot of grants, concessions and rebate schemes that you can make use of right now. The most important of which is the Homebuilder scheme that has announced $25,000 grants for building or substantial renovations.

Banks have lowered their interest rates on loans to encourage loaning during the pandemic situation. Do not consider loaning and starting a home renovation work unless your income is guaranteed to continue.

The pandemic economic fall is said to be one of the worst in decades. It has led to slow down in every industry including construction. Taking up any construction work now is going to provide more employment opportunities for construction workers.

You can choose to do your home renovation work within the super fund alone or you can make use of other schemes and loans to even build your new home. Are you wondering what can $20,000 get you in 2020? Here you go.

 

What home improvement work can you do with $20,000?

For those planning to do home improvement work only with the $20,000 from the super fund, you still have plenty to choose. You can simply spend all the cash on a bathroom renovation and make dramatic changes. Or you can do a cosmetic overhaul for the weathered aspects of the home alone.

The options are literally endless. Be it your residence, rental property or investment property, even $5,000 spent on the right things can boost home value more than itself.

So here are some of the best home improvements ideas for you within the $20,000 budget.

  • Transform the aesthetics (paints, tiles, finishes) of the house with $20,000 in just 5 days.
  • Target on the home renovation areas that improve the market value of the house. This approach is generally used for investment properties only.
  • A complete Kitchen or Bathroom renovation can be fit in the 20k budget easily. Or you can try and renovate both within the same cost. In that case, you will have to do simpler work like painting and tiling by yourself.
  • Spend on one particular aspect of the house like painting the exteriors, upgrading the living room, etc.
  • Spend on one luxury product like Sunken baths which starts at $10,000.
  • Or you can target on improving the home security by adding high-end security cameras.

Check out our full article on what you can get out of $20,000 for a better idea.

 

In my opinion, accessing the superfund is not the difficult part. Spending it the right way that will count as an investment is important. So, take your time planning and setting up everything.

It is okay if you already got your early access to super. The money can wait in the bank while you are working out the renovation plan that will add value to your home.

To remind you again, the advice regarding accessing your super fund is purely my opinion. An opinion from an experienced guy in the building industry and not from finance.

Until next time, see ya! Stay safe!

 

 

 

 

 

June 21st, 2020 in

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The $25,000 new HomeBuilder Scheme: Is it for you?

A grant of $25,000 is announced for homebuilders across Australia by the federal government. The HomeBuilder Scheme that is effective starting June is only available for a limited duration.

There has been a lot of talks about the grants ever since it got announced. There are also contradictions from the expert if the scheme will really bring the necessary change for construction professionals.

More than that, I know many of you are eager to know if you can avail it. The eligibility is mainly based on the value of house construction/renovation and the income. There are other constraints too. Don’t worry, we have covered all of it.

 

What is the HomeBuilder scheme?

You might have already heard about it in the news. It provides a tax-free grant of $25,000 for construction or substantial renovation projects in Australia. Announced by the federal government on June 2nd 2020, it is valid throughout 2020.

COVID-19 has brought in a lot of unpleasant things into our lives. One of which being the economic downfall has hit Australia with a recession not seen in decades. To help stabilize the economy, Morrison’s government have come up with a few stimulus packages.

HomeBuilder Scheme targets the construction workers who are jobless due to the COVID climate. Estimated to provide over 27,500 grants the total cost estimation of the scheme is around 688 million.

This is expected to help over 1,000,000 jobs in the construction field directly and indirectly. That’s not all. You can make use of the first home buyer benefit with this grant saving a good percentage of your total expenses.

The property industry is one of the most important industries in Australia. Some experts say, stimulus package is said to bring back momentum to the construction market. The low interest on loans will add to the convenience of getting into construction for many.

home builder

Eligibility criteria for the HomeBuilder scheme

The federal government has really narrowed down on who can make use of the HomeBuilder Scheme. Mainly based on the yearly earnings and value of the build.

You have to satisfy the following conditions to apply for the house stimulus package.

  • 18 Year of age.
  • Citizen of Australia.
  • Natural person.
  • A salary cap of $125,000 per year for singles and $200,000 per annum for couples based on 2018-19 taxable income.
  • For newly build houses the house value is capped at $750,000 inclusive of land. In case of Substantial renovation, the estimated value of the project must be somewhere between $150,000 to $750,000 and the house to be altered is valued less than $1.5 billion.
  • Investment properties and commercial establishments will not be eligible for the grant.
  • The applicant’s intended place of principal residence only qualifies for the HomeBuilder scheme.
  • The owner-occupier needs to sign a contract on or before December 31st 2020 to be eligible for the grant. Further, HomeBuilder Scheme specifies that all the professionals entering into the contract must be licensed professionals. Professionals who are licensed after the date of June 4th are not eligible.
  • The construction must commence in three months from the date of entering into a contract with the builder.
  • An owner-builder is not eligible for the scheme as it is targeted to benefit the construction market.

 

What kind of home can you build under the HomeBuilder scheme?

Off the plan, apartment, individual dwelling all of which can be bought under the HomeBuilder Scheme with the limitation of $750,000.

It also applies if you are already in the talks or pre-construction phase and haven’t signed the contract. On the contrary, if you have just signed the contract before June 4th, you are not eligible.

For those owning land and want to construct on it, the same condition applies. The cumulative value of land and house that does not exceed $750,000 are eligible. The same goes for complete demolition and rebuild.

 

What is a substantial renovation?

Substantial renovation, according to the fact sheet provided by the treasury means anything that changes the dwelling substantially and does not involve cosmetic changes only.

Even if replacement of foundations, taking down walls are not part of the plan, it must improve on accessibility, safety and/or liveability of the property. So,  Swimming pool, granny flats, sheds, landscaping that are detached from the main dwelling can not be included.

So, cosmetic changes to the kitchen and bathroom probably won’t be eligible for the grant. If you are looking for anything of that sorts your super fund can help.

Home renovation project

How to get $25,000 for your house renovation or build?

The grant is fairly new and the application process is not structured yet. The criteria, itself is said to be means-tested. For now, the applications process is taken care of by the state treasury after your state or territory has entered the National Partnership Agreement with the Commonwealth Government.

You will have to submit certain documents of the owner-occupier and some related to the property. You will need to hire valuation professionals for house value and an architect/building contractor to estimate the project value.

For a clearer view on the application process, we will have to wait or contact your state treasury personally. But do not idle till then. If you have plans of applying for the grant, you should start right now.

The signing of the contract with the building professionals before the end of 2020 is one of the qualifying factors. But signing the contract comes in at the middle of the construction timeline. You can’t get to contracting the next day you decide to build or renovate. There is a lot of preconstruction work that you need to do like applying for development approval etc.

Only buying off-the-plan houses have very less or no pre-construction work as the seller takes care of most of the work.

 

How can you make the best out of the current situation?

The construction market is facing a never seen recession like most other economic sectors. Though it is bad for professionals like us, end customers are going to be benefitted in the form of grants, rebates, stamp duty relaxation and low-interest loans.

Let’s see how much you can save if you have renovation plans in mind. The home renovation costs in Australia range from $20,000 to $300,000 which is well under the scheme limit of $750,000. If you fall under the salary limit mentioned, then the $25,000 grant is already yours. Plus, you can use the superannuation fund up to $20,000 if required. That is a total of $45,000 of relief in the renovation budget.

What about those looking for a new home? For most it is the same as above, you can enjoy a maximum of $45,000. If you are a first home buyer you have grants and relaxations raining. Because the HomeBuilder Scheme does not restrict or demean any other grants/relaxation scheme. You can avail any scheme to its fullest on top of the $25,000 home stimulus.

That can mean savings above $60,000 in some states for first home buyers. ($25,000 Homebuilder grant + up to $20,000 Superannuation fund + $15,000 first home buyer grant + rebates and stamp duty relaxations)

I wish I had these benefits lined up when I planned my first home. But never mind, at least you make the best use of the situation.

But don’t let the offers direct you to a hasty decision. Make sure your financial situation is strong and check for any major expenses expected in the near future.

Spend time on planning and research rather than regretting and repaying.

November 23rd, 2019 in

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How to Renovate a Bathroom: 5 Stage Process

Over the coming weeks I’ll be looking at the 5 Stage Renovation Process, focusing specifically on how to renovate a bathroom and project manage the entire job.

Each stage will be broken down into bite-size chunks for easy digestion. It will also be full of practical tips and builder’s hacks to get you on the right path with your renovation.

This step-by-step approach will help you gain the knowledge and confidence to better manage your DIY bathroom renovation or at least know how to work with someone who is going to do it for you.

Whether it’s your architect or your builder. Heck it could even be your Uncle Frank. No matter which way you go you’ll be on top of things right from the start.

 

Created by an Experienced, Licensed Builder: How to Renovate a Bathroom

This process has been something I’ve refined over the past two decades during my days running a building company in Sydney, Australia.

What I’ll be showing you is exactly the process that I have used day in, day out on all my home builds and renovations. So you’ll be getting first-hand experience in how to do and how not to do a bathroom renovation.

 

Planning-a-bathroom-renovation

 

As with all home improvement projects, there is a rhythm and a flow to them. Certain things need to start before other jobs can progress. If you miss any of the essential steps then it could create a domino effect.

However, sometimes things don’t always go according to plan, like unseasonal weather conditions, late supplier deliveries or even financing issues. When getting to grips with how to renovate a bathroom, this is one of the key things to get your head around.

But as with everything in life, the better you plan for contingencies, the better you’ll be able to quickly deal with any set backs.

I find that keeping calm (and having a few beers!) always helps to even things out when the SHTF. So find your calm zone and make sure you use it during the renovation process.

 

So What Exactly is the 5 Stage Renovation Process?

The 5 stages can essentially be grouped into 3 core elements: Research, Planning, and Construction.

5-Step-Renovation-Process-How-to-renovate-a-bathroom

Below is a brief outline of each one.

 

Stage 1: Research

As the name suggests, this is when you start gathering all your ideas together and working out what you’d like your bathroom to look like. It’s probably the most fun part of the entire renovation process – although completing the job does run a very close second.

It’s never been easier to source great designs, find inspiration, and learn how to renovate a bathroom. The previously exclusive world of interior design has now been cracked open for everyone to peek inside. And with no end of online websites catering for the home improvement addict, you can literally track down exactly what you’re after in an afternoon.

Websites like PinterestHouzz and HiPages are a great start!

For more in-depth information about Stage 1: Research check out:

1. Where to Find Bathroom Design Ideas & Inspiration

2. How to Organise Your Bathroom Makeover Ideas

how-to-renovate-a-bathroom-houzz-research

 

Stage 2: Planning

Once you have a good idea of what you’d like your bathroom to look like, the next stage is putting everything in place and making sure you calculate your costs.

Things to consider now would be:

Plans & sketches

 

Job file structure

 

Finishes schedule

 

Budget Cost Calculator

 

Stage 3: Pre Construction

Now we get to the hiring people and project timeline stage.

Finding contractors

 

Planning out your project timeline

contractor-renovating-a-bathroom

Stage 4: Construction

Here we go! This is the meat and potatoes of the entire bathroom renovation. It’s where everyone gets to work.

But before getting started you need to have a site establishment checklist on hand.

Read more: Use a Site Establishment Checklist Before Starting Construction

Some of the key areas that will be covered in this stage include:

 

Stage 5: Project Completion

This is when you breathe a sigh of relief and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

But before you do, there are always a few final last minute things to tidy up before you can enjoy your new bathroom.

Read more: Complete Bathroom Renovation

 

So that’s it in a nutshell. As you can see the 5 Stage Renovation Process flows in a logical way and will help guide you through your home improvement project.

Once you work through the process you’ll certainly know how to renovate a bathroom like an expert.

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason
CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE: How Much Does it Cost to Remodel a Bathroom?

 


 

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June 10th, 2020 in

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Common renovation mistakes and how to avoid them?

Bessie Hassan | Money Expert at finder.com.au

 

Whether you’re a seasoned renovator or it’s your first time, there are many renovation mistakes that you should actively avoid when starting out on a new project.

 

From overcapitalizing or renovating the wrong rooms to re-locating plumbing and electrical work, there are several renovation blunders that you should steer clear of if you want your project to be a success.

 

1) Renovation cost estimation: material and labour costs

Failing to research material and labour costs are one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to property renovation. Whether it’s researching labour costs online, comparing quotes from different suppliers or finding out which materials are the most durable or environmentally-friendly, there are many things to consider when embarking on a renovation project.

Soak up all the information you can to ensure that you make the right decisions for your project and don’t fall into the trap of underestimating costs, as this may lead to you overcapitalising on your project (ie, selling your property at a loss).

Overestimating the renovation budget is similarly worse as you end up paying more than required which translates to a lesser value.

 

How to avoid renovation cost issues?

Before you start, get a valuation from your local real estate agent. Given that renovation is a risky business it’s a good idea to get a handle on what your home is worth before starting. Why pay big bucks renovating if you won’t make the money back?

One of the must-do’s in the pre-construction phase is budgeting. Prepare a budget like a hawk. Shop around for fittings both in-person and online. You’ll be surprised at what bargains you can pick up by doing your research. Paying in cash is a great way to get further discounts too.

Also, some retailers are keen to get rid of end-of-line products or display models so ask them if they have any available for you to see. And don’t be afraid to haggle!

Many things can go wrong when renovating and it could mess up even the most finely tuned timetable. Assume that if something is to go wrong, it usually will. Make contingency plans for wet weather, unavailability of contractors, and if a job takes longer than expected.

Remember to also factor in any other indirect renovation costs including local council fees, professional fees, finance repayments, rental payments (if you have to move out during the renovation) and so on. For instance, if you’re taking out a loan to cover your renovation costs, use a calculator to forecast your repayments.

And always, always keep some money aside for the unexpected. It’s best to not skimp on quality or cut corners.

Renovation planning

2) Renovation schedule and timeline

While a lot of people emphasise the importance of budgeting (which is important, of course), many forget to create a renovation project timeline. Once you’ve mapped out the scope of your work, you should estimate how long each task will take and come up with a project completion date. If you don’t set yourself a deadline, you’ll never finish!

Proper timelining is required to schedule the work of the subcontractors. What if you estimated a different time and scheduled your plumber to work a weak earlier? You might have to pay the cancellation fee adding messing up the renovation budget.

How to prepare a good renovation schedule and timeline?

First, know the basic of building construction. Do your research on the time taken for renovation tasks. Or, consult some on in the renovation space for speeding up the process. Don’t forget to include pre-construction phase where the documentation, approval and planning are gonna take weeks if not months to complete.

If you are new to the space, use templates that help with organizing the home renovation project. Getting started with a tried and tested template is going to save a lot of time and save you from a few risks.

 

3) Going overboard with DIY tasks

There are some tasks you can definitely do yourself, such as painting or basic landscaping, but there are also certain things that you shouldn’t attempt. When it comes to more complex work such as plumbing or carpentry, you should always consult a licensed professional, which is also the legal way to get it done.

Attempting DIY projects for complex tasks, particularly those that require specific skills, is not only dangerous but it may end up being more costly if you do it wrong and then have to rectify it later down the track.

Where to draw the line for DIY renovation tasks?

While DIY is appreciable for certain tasks, do not go overboard on DIY. Do things that you have learned, prepared to do. And keep in mind DIY is not that easy either. You need to invest your time and money to learn the skill and get the necessary tools.

I recommend doing basic things like painting, tiling, countertop replacement and not touching any of the complex work. Owner builder license is the right place to start if you have enough time to visit sites, plan and coordinate with the contractors. Though, you might need to buy home indemnity insurance if you take the owner building route.

Be it simple or complex work, it is good to get advice from an engineer, architect or experienced building contractor before starting work than having to hire them later to repair the mess you have created. Speak to local real estate agents about the types of upgrades or features that will add the most value to your property.

 

4) Building Permit, Development Approval and License

Renovation sometimes requires zero paperwork. The other times you need to go through the hassle of getting approvals and permits. It can take longer to process, around 4 weeks for DA alone. It might come in unexpected if you haven’t planned the renovation properly.

Renovation permits and approval are not only necessary to avoid penalties but to make sure the building construction meets the regulations and is safe for the workers and the future occupants.

How to make sure you get all the permit for a home renovation?

Consult your local council, first. That is where you need to start getting permits anyway. If you need a planning permit, hire an architect or building planner to do it.

For Development approval, you can forward the planning permit documents. Regarding the license, there are many types of license to practice various work in home construction.

Finalise the building plans right before you start with permits. Because if you want to change the approved building permit, you need to go through the whole process again to get it approved.

 

 

5) Renovating the wrong areas/rooms

Spending $15,000-$20,000 on a laundry upgrade is just ludicrous. When planning out your renovation project. Failing to focus your energy (and money) on the areas that are most frequently used or occupied won’t add value to the property.

Where renovation tasks should you focus if you are renovating for a profit?

Generally, you should focus the majority of your renovation budget on areas such as the master bedroom, the living room and the kitchen (and less on areas such as the laundry or guest bedroom).

You should also consider the demographics of the area so that you know who you’ll need to appeal to when it comes time to put your property on the market. Knowing the demographic profile of potential residents, such as their age, disposable income or living preferences (eg, do they want to own outright or rent?), will help you reach more informed decisions.

 

Renovation in progress
Home renovation process

6) Relocating electrics and plumbing

Moving around your electricals and plumbing can be extremely costly, so if possible, you should try to leave them in the same location. It requires specific licenses to carry out such tasks.

How to avoid/minimize electrical and plumbing work in a home renovation project?

When rearranging appliances or redoing the setup, design plans that can utilize existing power and pipelines. Especially in the kitchen and bathroom where plumbing and electrical work is more likely required.

 

Planning and seeing through a renovation project can be timely, costly and emotionally draining, so it’s worth doing some research to learn about common mistakes and how to avoid them. Spend some time reading up on prices, materials, installation methods and industry trends so that you can achieve your desired outcome and live in your dream home.

 


 

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January 31st, 2020 in

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Where to Find Bathroom Design Ideas & Inspiration

When it comes to finding bathroom design ideas there are literally millions of places you could look for inspiration – both online & offline. And with such a huge range of options it can get overwhelming when it comes time to making decisions about which look and feel to go with.

If you’re unsure of where to start or are feeling stuck then this article will help point you in the right direction.

 

Sourcing Bathroom Design Ideas: This Stage is Very Addictive!

The research stage is by far the most fun part of the renovation process (besides the demolition stage of course!). It’s the time when you can literally go crazy and create your ultimate wishlist of design ideas without touching the bank account.

There are a couple of sites that I suggest you start looking to get bathroom design ideas and inspiration – here are my three top picks:

1. Houzz

They in multiple countries worldwide including:

 

In case you haven’t heard of Houzz before, here’s some info:

  • It’s a platform for home renovation and design.
  • Brings together the homeowner and home professionals in a uniquely visual community.
  • Browse and save beautiful home photos.
  • Find the right design and construction professionals.
  • Connect with others who have been there too.
  • Houzz started as a side project but has become a community of more than 40 million.

 

Bathroom-Design-Ideas-Houzz

2. Pinterest

• Main website – www.pinterest.com
• Most people have heard about Pinterest (well almost everyone!).
• It’s a free social media network that allows users to visually share, and discover new interests by posting (known as ‘pinning’ on Pinterest) images or videos to their own or others’ boards (i.e. a collection of ‘pins,’ usually with a common theme) and browsing what other users have pinned.
• Home improvement is only one of the topics you can find on Pinterest – there are loads more catering for all interests.
• If you’re a newbie to Pinterest check out the help section – All About Pinterest Guide

 

Bathroom-Design-Ideas-Pinterest

 

3. HiPages

 

  • Known as Home Improvement Pages.
  • Australia’s most visited building and renovation website.
  • Platform for taking your building or renovation project from concept to completion.
  • Connecting Australians with local trade professionals and home services for over 13 years.
  • Has thousands of inspirational photos to get your creative juices going.

 

Bathroom-Design-Ideas-HiPages

Other Places to Look for Ideas & Inspiration

Below is a list of some more places you can look.

Online

  • Use Google/Bing for keyword searches

 

Magazines

  • Great for making ‘mood boards’ the old fashioned way (i.e. cutouts).
  • Also check out their website & social media for ideas.

 

Home décor retail outlets

  • Great place to see complete room makeovers – IKEA does this really well.

 

Specialist bathroom showrooms

  • Another great place to see finished bathrooms as well as touch/feel the fittings etc.

 

Fairs/Events open to the public

  • Great for finding the latest trends, ‘must-haves’, and up-and-coming designers

 

Interior designer

  • For those with deep pockets, you could hire an interior designer to do all the legwork for you.

 

Keeping On Top of All Your Information

The next step is to start making a list of all the websites/places you’ve visited for ideas so that you don’t forget where you found something that you liked.

Here are a few options on how to collate/organise everything:

1. Create a simple word document that lists all your finds in one area.

2. You can use online note taking software that allows you to save all your links into it.

A good one is Evernote – https://evernote.com. There are hundreds of other note taking apps on the market, but Evernote is good because you can use it on various platforms like your PC, mobile phone and tablet, and they all sync to each other so you can see your notes anywhere.

 

Bathroom-Design-Ideas-Evernote
I’ll be doing a follow-up article on the best ways to collate and organise your bathroom design ideas which will cover more options.

 

Word of Warning – Beware of Overwhelm

Be careful of falling into the ‘analysis paralysis’ zone. You know the place where you see so many things you like but are too scared of making a decision in case you choose the wrong one.

One way to overcome this is to make a list of things you absolutely have to have in your new bathroom. This could be a shower and bath combo, lots of storage etc. By narrowing down the field you can focus your attention on what’s really important to you and ditch the stuff that’s not.

If you do fall into the overwhelm trap – try taking a step back, stop looking and go for a walk/leave it for a while.

Sometimes the break can help clear your mind so it has time to mill over the choices in the background (subconsciously). A beer always helps too ☺

 

So that covers the first part of Stage 1: Research – finding bathroom design ideas. In the second part, I’ll go through how to create a filing structure and some online/offline apps and tools to make your life easier when collating the info.

To recap, the 5 Stage Renovation Process will guide you through the exact steps I use as a professional builder when working on home improvement projects.

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason
CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE: How to Renovate a Bathroom: The 5 Stage Process

 


 

LEARN HOW TO RENOVATE YOUR BATHROOM LIKE A BUILDER & SAVE $$$

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February 2nd, 2020 in

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How to Organise Your Bathroom Makeover Ideas

If you’ve ever done (or at least dreamed of doing) a home improvement project, you’ll know that the first step is research. Scouring the Internet and beyond for great bathroom makeover ideas is a load of fun but all that info needs to be organised in a way that you can easily find it later.

Collating Your Bathroom Makeover Ideas

Here are a few ways you can get on top of things.

 

1. Folder/Filing Structure

Before you start gathering all those great bathroom makeover ideas, work out a system to file the info – much like the folders in your filing cabinet. Believe me – it will save you a heap of time in the long run if you do this upfront.

Below is a list of categories to get the ball rolling but feel free to add more if you like.

  • Toilet
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Sink
  • Fixtures/Taps
  • Lighting
  • Flooring
  • Walls
  • Tiles
  • Storage
  • Décor
  • Furniture/Cupboards
  • Colour scheme

 

Choose a method that works best for you – it could be the list above, alphabetical, colour coded etc. Everyone has their own way of doing things – so there’s no right or wrong way!

bathroom-makeover-ideas-organization

 

2. Offline & Online Tools & Apps

There are also some great offline & online tools/apps you can use to collate all your info in one place.

Offline

Word or Excel

A lot of computers nowadays will come bundled with Microsoft Office (both PC and Mac) when purchased. The product suite consists of Word (text editor), Excel (spreadsheet), Powerpoint (presentations) and a number of other useful applications. You can find out more by heading over to the Microsoft site.

But if you want to do it on the cheap then there’s a free alternative called OpenOffice.

Text Editor / Notes

A text editor is like Word but without all the formatting options. Much like Microsoft Office, most computers come with a basic Text Editor. Also many mobile phones now also come with Notes (iPhone) or similar so you can even gather info on the go.

Online

Evernote

Evernote is a great option to organise your bathroom makeover ideas in one central place. As it’s an online software service, you can access your account from any device with Internet connection. They also offer a free account as well as paid for plans.

Google Docs

Google has its own online version of Word called Google Docs, and Excel called Google Sheets. If you have a Gmail account then you’ll be able to access these for free. You can learn more here.

Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote is a note-taking and personal information management (PIM) application for collecting, organising and sharing digital information. It’s basically Microsoft’s online version of Evernote.

It’s also the only Microsoft Office suite app you can download and use for free without a license to the suite or 365 subscription.

 

These are just a few suggestions – there are a lot of alternatives out there on the market. I have simply picked the ones I prefer to use but go ahead and choose whatever suits you.

So that covers the second part of Stage 1: Research – organising your bathroom makeover ideas. To read part one go to – Where to Find Bathroom Design Ideas & Inspiration 

To recap, the 5 Stage Renovation Process will guide you through the exact steps I use as a professional builder when working on home improvement projects.

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason
CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE: How to Renovate a Bathroom: The 5 Stage Process

 


 

LEARN HOW TO RENOVATE YOUR BATHROOM LIKE A BUILDER & SAVE $$$

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The super-simple, step-by-step process I use in my business to renovate bathrooms fast and on budget.

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February 6th, 2020 in

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3 Ways to Get Your Bathroom Floor Plans Done

Once you’re done with sourcing ideas and getting inspiration for your renovation project, you’ll now need to draw up your bathroom floor plans.

This is the start of Stage 2: Planning and it’s the process where you literally sift through your wishlist and work out where everything will appear in your new bathroom – to the centimetre!

Rule number 1- you always need a plan to work off so that you can be organized for success. Here are 3 ways that you can go about organizing your plans or sketches.

How To Do Your Bathroom Floor Plans

Below I’ve outlined three options ranging from hiring someone, using online software, and even simple hand drawings.

 

Option 1: Pay to have your plans drawn by a draftsman, architect or interior designer

Paying a professional to design your plans and sketches can be one of the best ways to kick off your bathroom renovation. But it will also be the most expensive option.

If you are time poor and don’t have the confidence to draw something yourself (which are some of the other options below), then this would be the most stress free route.

The level to which you engage someone to help you out is entirely up to you. On the higher end you may pay someone to draw your plans and make all your selections (i.e tiles, plumbing fittings, joinery paint etc). Or on the lower end, it may just be a simple sketch of the room and the rest is up to you.

If you decide to go for option 1 there are a number of sites where you can find a professional depending on what part of the world you are from.

Below are some examples of a few links that may help.

 

Bathroom Floor Plans draftsman

 

Option 2: Draw your own bathroom floor plans with an online software package

There are certainly a tonne of different software packages out there that you could use. Some of them are great – but others are, well… crap! Here are my top picks.

Edraw

 

Smart Draw

 

Sketch Up

  • A very powerful 3D modelling program.
  • Can come in handy to draw details if 3D visualisation is needed.
  • Note: This program has a big learning curve and will take a lot of study to go through the video tutorials and learn. Certainly not recommended for the beginner.
  • There are free and paid versions. Check out: sketchup.com

 

Bathroom Floor Plans Edrawsoft

 

Option 3 – Draw your own plans by sketching out a scale diagram on paper, and then scanning and saving

This option is the most ‘hands-on’! Depending on how you’re going to use it, you can be as precise or as rough as need be.

If you’re going to be doing most of the work yourself then you’ll want to be as bang on with measurements as possible. On the other hand, if you’ll be using a project manager/builder to do it for you – then a rough sketch is ok.

Its important to be accurate with all your measurements, so your bathroom floor plans match what you plan on building on site. For example, lengths and heights of walls, where vanities and basins will be positioned, taps, cabinets, light fittings, towel rails, toilets etc all need to be carefully positioned and marked down on plan.

Keep in mind, the reason you’re scanning and saving your bathroom floor plans is so they can be emailed and reprinted. Don’t just make one copy!

 

Important tips to remember when drafting your plans with any of the above 3 options

If you decide to go with Option 2 or 3 then you’ll need to make sure you include the following in your bathroom floor plans:

  • Plumbing layout for all services to be shown including heights of taps, mixers and spouts.
  • Electrical layout to be shown for all light points including LED strip lighting, downlights, pendant fittings, exhaust fans, light switching points, power points, heated towel racks and under floor heating including thermostat locations.
  • Tiling layout to be considered, will there be a step down in the shower, if so mark it on the plan. Will there be any feature walls? If so mark them on the plan as well. Is there a particular pattern you would like the tiles laid, i.e. brick pattern, diagonal? Where should cut tiles be placed, at the doorway, bath or other location? Thinking about the set out of tiles is important.

 

The above are just a few things to consider when drafting bathroom floor plans. Once you’re happy with the proposed plans it’s time to move onto the next part of Stage 2: Planning – the renovation project plan and creating a “Job Folder” Filing system.

To recap, the 5 Stage Renovation Process will guide you through the exact steps I use as a professional builder when working on home improvement projects.

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason
CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE: How to Renovate a Bathroom: The 5 Stage Process

 


 

LEARN HOW TO RENOVATE YOUR BATHROOM LIKE A BUILDER & SAVE $$$

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February 8th, 2020 in

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Getting Organized With a Renovation Project Plan

As with any home improvement job, you really should have a renovation project plan before you get started. It’s a bit like a recipe – you can’t bake a cake without knowing the ingredients!
 

Renovation Project Plan: Gather & File

 
This stage of the project might seem boring, but creating a good filing system where you can keep all your information stored is critical to staying organized.

This really is a simple two-step process.
 

Step 1: Gather the Information

 
So the first thing to do is look at the different types of information you’ll need to gather to undertake all the bathroom renovation jobs.

This information will come from a variety of places and include for example:

  • Research – ideas, products, suppliers, contractors etc.
  • Bathroom renovation plans
  • Local council/State regulator regulations & approvals
  • Contractor agreements & contact details
  • Budget
  • Construction schedule
  • Supplies – types of products you’ll need to finish the renovation

 
This list is by no means complete but it gives you some idea of how broad the info gathering process is and why you need a renovation project plan.
 
renovation project plan contracts

 

Step 2: Organize the Information

 
Pretty soon you’ll start to see all the info piling up so you’ll need to organise it so you can find it later on. Going back to the good old-fashioned ‘filing cabinet’ approach, start by setting up some key folders – electronic or paper (I suggest both).

Try setting this up before you start gathering the info. That way you won’t have to backtrack and waste time re-filing or tracking down loose bits.
 

What is a Job Filing System?

 
A Job Filing system is simply a series of folders for all the items you may use in your renovation that can be accessed with the click of a button. An example of this is below, let’s call it “Bathroom Renovation 101”.

Create a folder on your computer that is easy to access and name it what you want (i.e. Bathroom Renovation 101), then you will need to create all the subfolders inside of the project folder like the ones below:
 
Renovation project plan filing system

 

Here is a download link to populate these folders on your computer and save some typing – Bathroom Renovation Job File Structure Folders

Now you may not need all these subcategories for your renovation, but it’s a pretty good example of all the things you may need to cover when doing a full blown bathroom renovation.

The idea of having all these folders is so that you can save all your information in relation to your project into these folders as you go, and be able to have that info at your fingertips in an organized manner when you need to re visit it.

Some of the folders I will go on to discuss in more detail when we cover those topics (i.e. Construction Schedule & Finishes Schedule), but most are self-explanatory.
 

Stay organized and stay in control

 
So this stage is pretty simple, but do it right and get organized upfront before starting. It’ll help you to stay on track and on top of things.

You’d be surprised at the number of stressed out people renovating – so don’t become one yourself!

That’s it for the second part of Stage 2: Planning  – renovation project plan & the Job Filing System. Let’s move onto our Selections / Finishes Stage.

 

To recap, the 5 Stage Renovation Process will guide you through the exact steps I use as a professional builder when working on home improvement projects.

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason
 

CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE: How to Renovate a Bathroom: The 5 Stage Process

 


 

LEARN HOW TO RENOVATE YOUR BATHROOM LIKE A BUILDER & SAVE $$$

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The super-simple, step-by-step process I use in my business to renovate bathrooms fast and on budget.

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February 20th, 2020 in

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How Do I Find The Best Building Contractors?

There are many ways to find good quality building contractors such as by word of mouth referrals (i.e. family, friends, workmates etc.), local papers, Googling online, and much more.

But the way I suggest you do it (especially if you’re new to it all) is to use a trusted online service such as the ones listed below.

 

Keeping Track of Building Contractors Details

Before you do that, the first step is to create or use a template to capture all of the contractors contact details in one location. Having everyone’s information in one place will make it easier to find when you need to call or email them.

I’ve created a free Master Contractors template for you (the same one I’ve used in my building business) which you can download here.

Now onto the big question of how to find a contractor, I recommend you try these services below:

 

Here is a video demonstrating how to use these online services as well as running you through the Master Contractors template.

 

 

Signing Contracts: What’s The Process?

So when do you need to be talking with building contractors and obtaining quotations?

I’d suggest a minimum of two months before you plan on starting, or more if you can manage it.

Most good contractors will have at least a few months’ worth of work in front of them, and it will generally take a few weeks before they come back to you with a quotation.

 

TIPS TO KEEP IN MIND

1. Try and obtain 3 quotes so that you can compare your contractors on price but also on responsiveness.

2. During the quotation stages if they are hard to contact, don’t return calls and take a lot of chasing up for the quote – then I would be wary of using them as it’s probably how they will conduct themselves during your renovation.

3. Don’t be afraid to chase them up during the quoting stage. Sometimes a few extra reminders that you’re waiting on their price will keep you at the forefront of their mind.

4. Remember – most building contractors are generally on the tools during the day and do their quoting either at nights or on the weekends. The old phrase, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”, so don’t be afraid to follow up with them – but two reminders in my books is enough! After that, look elsewhere as they are probably not interested enough in the project.

 

Building Contractors quotations

 

GETTING IT DOWN ON PAPER

Once you have decided on a contractor and are happy with their price it’s time get an agreement down on paper.

Depending on what state or country you live in every governing authority will have different rules and regulations about what type of work licensed building contractors can carry out, and the dollar value associated with it.

Below I go through the process exactly the way I would given that I live in the state of NSW in Australia.

Over $5,000 AUD

Any work conducted over the value of $5,000 should have a small works contract in place.

These basically show the agreed price of the work, the building contractors details such as licences and insurances, the owner’s details and a place where both parties can sign off on the document.

Under $5,000 AUD

If the works are under the value of $5,000 I still advise to have some sort of agreement in writing.

This should include: the price, building contractors details, anticipated start and completion dates, and any other terms and conditions you might like included such as building contractor is responsible for cleaning up their own rubbish, who will be supplying materials, will there be any damages occurred if the project is not completed in time (i.e. $100 off their price every day they are over the agreed finish date) etc, etc.

You’re welcome to download the Work Order Document that I use for yourself. Please Note: this document is not classed as legal advice, and I suggest you seek your own before entering into any agreements you may be unsure of.

 

Building Contractors tilers

 

Top 8 Building Contractors to Hire For Bathroom Renovations

Below is a quick list of which contractors (aka ‘tradies’ if you live in Australia J) you’ll need for each part of the bathroom renovation process.

BUILDER

Will help you do everything from start to finish but they tend to be on the expensive side as they literally manage the whole process. If you don’t mind running around and doing some of the work yourself then you can quickly save a fair chunk of money.

But if you’d rather not get your hands dirty and have the cash to burn, then hiring a builder is your best bet, as they’ll manage everything for you.

ARCHITECT

Helps you design the plans and layout for your bathroom, and to make sure everything fits into the space you have.

CARPENTER

Helps build the cabinets and storage space in the bathroom, making it look as professional as possible.

ELECTRICIAN

Handles everything from the lighting and power to heating and ventilation.

PAINTERS

Helps you get the place looking wonderful when you are finished with the building and design work.

PLUMBERS

Handles anything that involves water, making sure that bathroom fixtures, bath, shower and toilet are all working and flowing smoothly.

TILERS

A vital part of the process. They help you make sure that everything from drain management to overall quality of design is just right.

WATERPROOFER

Makes sure that the place stays nice and dry after you go for a shower, for example.

 

Ok so we’ve covered how to find building contractors, the quotations process, signing contracts, and also the type of contractors you’ll need to hire for your bathroom renovation. The next part of Stage 3: Pre Construction Stage is where we discuss setting up a construction schedule template (or project planner).

 

To recap, the 5 Stage Renovation Process will guide you through the exact steps I use as a professional builder when working on home improvement projects.

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason
CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE: How to Renovate a Bathroom: The 5 Stage Process

 


 

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February 22nd, 2020 in

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Planning a Project Timeline With a Construction Schedule Template

Using a construction schedule template to plan out your project timeline is a great way to save time.

There’s no doubt about it, lining up all your key contractors and resources is one of the most important things you can do on a renovation project. It might seem daunting if you’re not a seasoned professional, but with a little guidance, you’ll be on top of things in no time.

The construction schedule template will help you to get down the scheduling basics. Then you can adjust the details according to discussions with each one of your chosen building contractors.

 

Construction Schedule Template: 3 Reasons To Use One

Having a construction schedule template is:

  1. Another way to help project manage your renovation and plan out all the critical tasks one by one without clashes or overlap. Great for helping you think about each stage and what you’ll need to have organised when your tradies arrive on site.
  2. Great for helping you think about each stage and what you’ll need to have organised when your tradies arrive on site.
  3. Will show you the order in which most bathroom renovations will be sequenced, and this is how I would suggest going through and finding your building contractors one by one as you work down your list.

 

Below is an example of what a construction schedule template looks like (note: if you’ve enrolled in the How To Renovate A Bathroom course, all these templates are included).

 

Construction Schedule

 

And here’s a video that demonstrates how to use one.

 

 

Some of the considerations when filling out your schedule for each stage of the project are as follows.

 

1. Site Establishment

This is the stage where you should get the project set up BEFORE any contractors arrive on site. It covers things such as:

  • installing floor protection over carpets and timber floors
  • setting up skip bins for rubbish removal
  • setting up a first aid kit
  • any signage that may be needed to direct contractors
  • setting up all safety equipment on site (gloves, dust masks, glasses, etc)
  • setting up any temporary toilets if the bathroom will be out of action

 

During site establishment, I also book in my plumber and electrician. This is to make the work area safe. It’s also to perform disconnections for things such as water, gas and power so that the area is ready for demolition.

 

2. Discuss Timeframes With The Contractors

For all other items in your construction schedule template, I recommend discussing the timeframe to complete the works with the contractors.

When you engage them in the process, that way you are working within timeframes that they advise they can complete them in. So there’s no unrealistic expectations from either party.

 

Construction schedule template contractor

 

3. Avoid Scheduling Clashes

One of the main considerations is trying to avoid a clash in your schedule where two or more contractors need to work in the bathroom at the same time.

Bathrooms are generally confined spaces, and having guys working over the top of each other can be a recipe for disaster.

Depending on the scale and size of your project, you could have a plumber come in the morning and electrician after lunch. But generally speaking, I like to book them on separate days to avoid any headaches.

 

4. Keep your Schedule Up-to-Date

Another consideration is to keep your schedule current. If there are any changes such as delays or over runs with a particular section of your renovation, make sure you revise your schedule to reflect this.

Once amended make sure you contact your preceding trades and advise them of any delay well in advance so they can reschedule to fit you in at a later date. Calling a contractor one or two days before they were due to start won’t cut it!

Most good contractors will have a few months’ worth of work in front of them so it may take some shuffling on their part to fit you back in.

Finally, when you’re happy with your construction schedule, give every contractor plenty of notice on their start dates. Then book it all in and get ready to watch the magic happen!

 

That’s about it for now. I hope you can see the benefit of using this type of template to schedule in your construction work. If you have been following along and completing all the steps and advice along the way you are now ready to jump into Stage 4: Construction Stage of your project!

 

To recap, the 5 Stage Renovation Process will guide you through the exact steps I use as a professional builder when working on home improvement projects.

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason

CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE: How to Renovate a Bathroom: The 5 Stage Process

 


 

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February 27th, 2020 in

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Use a Site Establishment Checklist Before Starting Construction

Before starting any construction work, it’s vitally important that you have a site establishment checklist on hand.

It’s there to help you prepare the building site so the renovation process can begin.

What is a Site Establishment Checklist?

Site establishment includes things like:

  • Protection to floors and existing surfaces.
  • Safety signs and first aid equipment.
  • Designated areas for material deliveries and rubbish etc.

 

It’s during this stage (or day on site) that you will also need to locate all of your mains services like water supply, gas and electricity.

  • Know where they’re located in case of an emergency.
  • Don’t scramble around trying to find a buried water meter at the last minute.

 

Below is an example of a checklist that I use for site establishment (note: if you’ve enrolled in the How To Renovate A Bathroom video course, all these templates are included).

 

Site Establishment Checklist example

 

Keep The Neighbours Informed!

This is also the time you’ll want to let your neighbours know when you intend to start with your renovation.

  • A letter dropped into the mailbox of your surrounding neighbours is all you need.
  • Let them know to expect a little noise and dust for a few weeks.
  • Give them a heads up if parking will be an issue due to tradesmen trucks and deliveries.

 

Here’s an example of a standard template letter that you could use.

 

Site Establishment checklist letter for neighbours

 

By doing this upfront you can save yourself a lot of headache by not surprising your neighbours with it. And remember that you have to live with these guys longer than the duration of your renovation project, so be mindful.

 

How to Perform Site Establishment

Site establishment can be anywhere from a couple of hours to take care of a few basics, through to a couple of days for larger projects.

Below are some of the typical site establishment checklist items for a bathroom renovation.

 

Site Establishment Checklist

 

1) Neighbour notification letters

Inform your neighbours of intended start date and site contact numbers.
Do this at least 2 weeks prior to starting on site.

 

2) First Aid equipment

To be stored on site in a prominent location.
Include for any site inductions with new contractors on site.

 

3) Site amenities

Including toilets, running water, site sheds, tool lock ups, lunchrooms, etc.

 

4) Permits

May need to be obtained from local authorities for project specific items i.e. skip bins, work zones or traffic control items.

 

5) Traffic control

Needs to be considered for organizing deliveries and managing pedestrians.

 

6) Plumbing and electrical services

Need to be disconnected to work zones prior to construction.
Temporary utilities may need to be installed for the duration of the build.

 

7) Signage

Builders contact details.
Private certifiers (if you have one) contact details.
Relevant warning signs.
Location of site office signs or any safety and induction signs to be erected on the site fence or in a prominent location.

 

8) Dial before you dig services

Is required before arriving on site.
This ensures that any authorities services or mains will not be damaged during construction.

 

9) Insurances

To cover the type of work being undertaken during construction.
Homeowners household insurances may need to be varied or amended during the course of the building works.
Includes insurances like:

  • Public liability.
  • Workers compensation.
  • Construction all risk.
  • Homeowners warranty.

 

10) Check approved development application

Ensure your DA is installed or considered at the time of the site establishment being carried out.

 

As I mentioned before, every bathroom renovation project is different so you’ll need to do some research well in advance to see what requirements need to be in place. By using a site establishment checklist you’ll ensure that all bases are covered.

The one thing I can’t stress enough though is to plan ahead and have everything ready for day one.

You don’t want be putting these measures in place during the project as it could be unsafe for anyone on site. You could also potentially risk heavy fines from authorities is you’re found not to be compliant with the requirements in your DA.

 

Once you have established the site you are ready to jump into the demolition process of Stage 4: Construction!

 

To recap, the 5 Stage Renovation Process will guide you through the exact steps I use as a professional builder when working on home improvement projects.

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason
CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE: How to Renovate a Bathroom: The 5 Stage Process

 


 

LEARN HOW TO RENOVATE YOUR BATHROOM LIKE A BUILDER & SAVE $$$

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March 3rd, 2020 in

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Complete Bathroom Renovation

You’ve gone through a complete bathroom renovation project! Congratulations – you did it!

But before you race off onto another home improvement project, we need to finish some bits and pieces.

In this last step (Stage 5: Project Completion) I sum up some final thoughts & things to consider before signing off.

Complete Bathroom Renovation: Final Tips & Advice

There are a couple of things to consider upon completing you project, and they are – warranties and defects.

1) Warranties

With your warranties I advise you to scan (if you don’t already have a digital version) and save all copies of warranties for items that you purchase into your job folder in a separate warranties tab.

By doing this, if you have a faulty tap, toilet or a problem with anything else in your bathroom you can easily locate the paperwork without having to go digging through draws to find lose paper.

If you can find all your warranties in one place there shouldn’t be any problem to get the repair work carried out 6-12 months down the track.

complete bathroom remodel

2) Defects

With defects, I like to have a 3 month defects liability period for all my contractors.

If you want to set something like this up I recommend doing it in the initial stages when signing contracts with them.

The way a defects period works is by holding an agreed amount from the contractors price (i.e. 10%) for a set period of time after they have completed the works (i.e. 3 months).

When the 3 months defects liability period is up you’ll then have two options:

  1. Get them back for any repairs and final maintenance work that may be required and then release the balance to them.
  2. Release the balance if no defects have shown up during that period of time.

 

Generally a retention of money would usually only be held on larger projects and you may find that a lot of smaller contractors may not be receptive to the process.

It’s entirely up to you guys if you chose to go with a method like this. If you do, it’s just an extra safe guard to have in place if there are defects and a contractor fails to return. Then at least you will have some money towards paying another contractor to come and rectify any defects.

complete bathroom renovation project

Congratulations!

Last of all, I suggest sitting back with a cold drink and taking in the amazing project you’ve just created. You’ve done it – a complete bathroom renovation from start to finish.

If you got through this process successfully you’re ready to take on that next project!

How’s your kitchen looking?  😉

BTW – Don’t forget to share your experiences with the rest of the Renovation Junkies community, we would love to see how you went.

 

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

All the best,

James Mason
CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE: How to Renovate a Bathroom: The 5 Stage Process

 


 

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The super-simple, step-by-step process I use in my business to renovate bathrooms fast and on budget.

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March 1st, 2020 in

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Bathroom Demolition Tips

When it comes to the bathroom demolition stage, it’s a good idea to have a plan of action before you get started!

How to do a Bathroom Demolition Properly

 

1. Turn Off Your Water & Electricity

Always have your services capped off and made safe prior to any demolition by your plumber and electrician.

If you don’t feel confident in removing any items such as basins, baths, taps, toilets, light fittings and power points – then you can ask the professionals to remove them while they are making the area safe for demolition.

Familiarize yourself where all your service meters are located for your electrical meter, water meter and gas. Even after your contractors have been out to make the area safe before demolition there can still be a pipe buried in the wall that may get damaged during the bathroom demolition.

The last thing you want is to have water flooding your house and you cannot locate a water meter that might be buried in a garden!

bathroom demolition work

2. Check What’s Behind The Wall

Another consideration is what is behind your tiles, if you have a hollow wall (timber frame with wall sheeting), there could be a possibility that asbestos sheeting may have been used.

Depending on the age of your house, if this is a concern then an occupational hygienist can be engaged to test the materials and let you know before you start work.

Here is an example of a company here is Sydney that can perform such an inspection – https://www.airsafe.net.au/. You can always find similar professionals in your home town and country.

 

3. Inspect What Lies Below The Surface

With all renovation / demolition projects it can be hard to determine what lies below the surface, and sometimes the full extent of any damage or repairs needed may not be known until things are ripped apart.

For example in some old bathrooms waterproofing is non-existent and water damage over many years may result in a rotten timber floor below your tiles that may need replacing. Termites also come and go, and pulling linings off walls can often expose paper thin timber framed structural walls.

 

4. Have a Cash Contingency Plan

In most cases I would recommend having a 10-15% variation contingency up your sleeve for costs that might be unknown.

A few extra grand on a 20K bathroom might be all you need to be safe, but its recommended to have a little buffer for those hidden surprises.

bathroom demolition tools

5. Bathroom Demolition Tools

If you plan on tackling the demolition yourself, here is a list of tools and equipment you may need.

 

Now with the above recommended tools listed out, you need to ask yourself if I already own many of these tools? If not, what would it cost me to purchase or hire them for a few days or a week?

If the costs start adding up it may actually be cheaper to hire a demolition contractor or carpenter to come in and do your demolition and strip out of the bathroom for you.

Demolition can be a rewarding task when you get to pull out that ugly bath that you’ve had to put up with for years! But it can also be dangerous, so make sure you have fun but play it safe!

 

Now lets move on to Stage 4: Construction – Carpentry.

 

To recap, the 5 Stage Renovation Process will guide you through the exact steps I use as a professional builder when working on home improvement projects.

If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!

Enjoy your renovation.

All the best,

James Mason
CHECK OUT THIS BLOG POST FOR MORE: How to Renovate a Bathroom: The 5 Stage Process

 


 

LEARN HOW TO RENOVATE YOUR BATHROOM LIKE A BUILDER & SAVE $$$

Online Course Available Now

The super-simple, step-by-step process I use in my business to renovate bathrooms fast and on budget.

GET INSTANT ACCESS TODAY

Yes, I Want to Know More!