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Renovating a flat thats not been touched since the 1970s - help needed

Postby georgetg » Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:23 am

Hi all, hopefully this is in the right place. I thought id join up to somewhere like this for tips and tricks along the way and also advice on costs etc to save money, avoid wasting money and hopefully prevent silly amateur mistakes.

Its a little long winded sorry.

I have 6-8 weeks to get this flat from a inhabitable dated mess, stinking of cigarette smoke and stale alcohol to a liveable standard.

I have just recently been given a 1 bedroom flat by the local council. The flat is on the ground floor and relatively small in size, id say it was built at some point in the 1960s, it has an open fire in the living room (which sadly they are bricking up :( ) , its one of those that looks like a semi detached house from the outside but its an upstairs/downstairs 2 flats inside. I cant put any pictures up as its still a couple of weeks till I get the keys.

Whoever lived in the flat before was a heavy smoker, and a heavy drinker. Everywhere is yellow, thick yellow to the point where its going brown in places. Looking at the decor, the woodwork, id say it hasnt been decorated since the 1970s at least.

So upon entering the flat, you are greeted with a lovely nasty shade of pink floor tile arrangement which covers the whole hallway. Walls and ceiling is white lining paper I believe, painted white which is now yellow/going brown and is peeling off around the edges.

To the right is the kitchen, which is the most comical kitchen ive ever seen, the radiater is halfway up the wall, the boiler is in the middle of the room and the cooker used to be housed inside what used to be an old pantry. The council are replacing the entire kitchen, units, worktops, decor and flooring so I dont have to worry about the kitchen.

To the left opposite the kitchen is the bathroom, which I think is by far the worst room in the flat. It again has lining paper of some thick grade on the ceiling and walls, which is painted in the darkest green one could find and again this is peeling off around the edges. The bathroom suite is the usual toilet, sink and bath, with no shower, its white, but dated, and again yellow/brown.

To the back of the flat, is the living room, which has the usual picture rail affair, above that, white sorry fagstained yellow lining paper, below some sort of faded flowery paper which is also yellowed and there is squares in it where pictures used to be, again all paper is peeling off.

Bedroom is just white lining paper, again yellow, peeling.

There are no carpets, just concrete floor that the council will be refinishing with what i believe levelling compound. They will do the kitchen floor so the rest is my responsibility. I have been given £100 of B&Q vouchers for paint etc

Im just after some advice about how to tackle this, as ive never done any DIY before, im great with cars, computers etc, i can fix almost anything, im quite skilled, good with tools, how things work, come apart, go back together, but having always lived in private rented this is my first DIY project, and its a big one.

My plan of action when I get the keys -

Strip all the old wall paper off. Im thinking of doing all the wallpaper stripping in one hit, as it stinks badly of stale smoke, so doing just one room at a time isnt going to cut it as the smell of smoke being a non smoker is going to annoy me.

Secondly, I have been told to use sugar soap to then scrub the entire flat, wipe everything down, all woodwork, door frames, and the PVC window frames and front door, this will apparently remove the yellow from the PVC window frames and door I have been told.

I then plan on sanding all the door frames and skirting down, just to take the shine off it so i can re gloss them.

With the walls I am planning on just using lining paper again, but what grade is best? I have seen 800 grade, 1000, 1400 and 1700 I believe on a wander around B&Q, I was thinking around the 1000 grade as they do massive 40 metre rolls for £8. I was then going to buy a big bucket of the trade matt white emulsion to paint the walls and ceilings with, and maybe feature wallpaper on one wall in the bedroom and possibly the living room.

With the bathroom is there a certain type of lining paper or something I can use? As i dont believe the original plaster under the paper will be any good to just paint on as it is? It might be, i just didnt want to re paper it and it peel off again, it may sand down and be okay.

With the picture rails in the living room, and possibly bedroom I cant remember, can these be removed easily? How are the attached on?

With the hallway tiles, I have seen these vinyl self adhesive planks, that look like real wood, i was going to stick these over the top of the original tiles? As the original tiles are not as far as i saw damaged, and digging them up would be a messy and time consuming job and could damage the floor underneath, would this be okay?

Living and bedroom will be carpeted once the painting is all finished and the walls and ceilings are complete. I doubt the carpet will cost much, how much would i be looking to have this carpet fitted professionally? Id guess both rooms are around 3 - 3.5m , by 2 - 2.5m.

Now, worst bit, the bathroom. The council say the suite in there, although dated is still perfectly serviceable, i cant disagree really, but it is dated. I know someone who works in a bathroom warehouse and he has said he could get me a full new white modern suite, toilet, sink, shower bath (shower comes off the taps) for around £250-£300 plus any white square tiles for free.

Now seeing as im a pretty practical guy, i have rebuilt engines etc is it really that difficult to replace a bathroom? My brother has wallpaper, tiling and floor laying experience, I cant see any reason why id struggle to replace the bathroom myself, the only part id be unsure of is the plumbing? Someone told me not to cut any of the copper pipes or damage any if I remove the existing suite, and you can buy plastic hoses with quick fit connectors which you can use to connect the existing copper piping to the new suite? Im not entirely sure what hes on about. Im just curious if its worth tackling this job myself, or to pay someone to do it, and if I was to pay someone, how much would this cost?

Lastly, interior doors. They are replacing the kitchen door when they renovate the kitchen as its one of those old types with the 4 glass panels in.

The other doors, 3, 4 including the one under the stairs are the 1970s type, with the old turn knob style handles, probably as old as the flat I imagine. Im after a rough idea of cost to replace these, with something like the 4 panel white doors, the generic type you see on most new homes these days?

I have around £1500 - £2000 to spend and a 6-8 week time frame, as I have to give my notice on the day on my current home the day I get the keys to the new place, the council are paying 4 weeks of rent on my old home, and i also had a month paid up front, so im hoping to get it all finished in that space of time. I have my brother who will help, and also have other friends who are willing to provide free labour at the expense of tea and bacon sandwiches.

The flat is not massive, bathroom and kitchen are small, so for example even if i went for the most expensive laminate flooring, i think id need 2 packs if that to do the bathroom. Ive worked out lining paper, paint, paste, brushes, rollers etc will come to around £50-£60.

Any advice, tips, does, dont's would be much appreciated.

I will put pictures up when I get the keys.
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Postby lets have a look » Sun Jun 19, 2016 6:34 am

As for the bathroom, I advertise for a bathroom suite swap at £350,that's labour fittings and dump the old suite,no tiling,making good but will fit the bath panel,the price can vary a lot,I'm in Wiltshire,prices increase as you move up to London but decrease from Birmingham upwards,
as for bath/shower mixer taps is a good idea with a combination boiler
lets have a look
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