Get the most from your renovations with tips from The Block 2015 runners-up Josh and Charlotte.
Runner up contestants Josh and Charlotte from Channel 9’s The Block Triple Threat share their best tips for bathroom and kitchen renovations, DIY projects, cutting costs and future-proofing your home.
Here are the main take-aways from the interview.
Top tips for bathroom renovations
Tip 1: Don’t be swayed by design trends
Charlotte: “Don’t choose tiles that are too trendy right now.”
Tip 2: Pre-seal your tiles
Josh: “If you’re using beautiful stone tiles, make sure you know how to seal them or ensure that you get them pre-sealed before you put them on, otherwise they’ll look a little bit nasty in a couple of weeks. Make sure the water-proofer is licensed, or the tiler, and just make sure they’ll be able to give you the right accreditation to ensure that it will be done properly.”
Tip 3: Ensure the area is functional
Josh: “Make sure the area is going to work for what you want to do. Ensure there’s plenty of storage, big bench space and ensure that the bathroom space will actually work. If you’re renovating, it’s good to keep stuff in the same place because that’s where the costs are going to come from – moving plumbing, moving electrics – but if you just put stuff back in the same location and freshen it up and make it new… you’ll be winning.”
Top tips for kitchen renovations
Tip 1: Make the space practical
Charlotte: “Make sure that there’s space when you’re going to pull something out of the oven... there’s chopping space, the sink’s big enough.. you can only work with the space you’ve got, but make it functional.”
Tip 2: Compare suppliers
Josh: “Shop around. Go and check out the different types of trades... speak to your friends and check out who they’ve used. Go to different kitchen stores because you’ll be able to visually tell the quality of the product when you compare it to the others, and this will dictate the price.”
Tip 3: Price = quality
Charlotte: “Don’t necessarily go for the cheapest. Work within your budget, but remember that the cheapest is generally equivalent quality-wise... A cheaper way to go about it is to get a separate cabinet maker and a stone maker rather than necessarily just going to a kitchen place where they give you a set cost. If you do bits yourself, then it can often come down a bit cheaper.”
Top tips for DIY renovations
Tip 1: Don’t get zapped
While we know that doing your own electrics is illegal in Australia, Josh reiterates the importance of hiring a contractor to conduct any electrical work required for your renovation. Josh: “Stay away from structural stuff if you don’t know what you’re doing. Stay away from electrics, you don’t want to get zapped trying to change a power point.”
Tip 2: Trust the experts
Charlotte: “Just remember that trades study for years on end and they’ve been doing this for their entire lives and they do that for a reason so it’s important not to try and do your own plumbing or electrics. Let the experts do that.
Top tips for cutting costs during renovations
Tip 1: Don’t be lazy
Charlotte: “Do it yourself. Don’t get any labourers in, paint yourself. Tradies can spend so much time just relocating rubble and their tools.” Josh: “The less work they do labouring and wasting time, the quicker and the cheaper it’s going to be.”
How can people future-proof their renovation?
Tip 1: Don’t overcapitalise
Charlotte: “Make sure you’re not overcapitalising in your renovation. I think it’s really important to focus on where you’re buying and the market and property is selling for there. So don’t put hundreds of thousands of dollars into an area where properties aren’t even selling for above a certain price.
“So just be careful about how much money you’re actually putting into your renovation.”
Tip 2: Think about future use
Josh: “And you’ve got to think about what use you want to get out of the property. So whether you’re having kids or whatever, you’ve got to plan for that kind of thing. So there’s no point putting a gym in your house if you know you’re having a kid in a year or so.